Solving the Houston Texans' Woeful Running Offense

John BrandtContributor IOctober 20, 2009

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 14: Running back Steve Slaton #20 of the Houston Texans carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans on December 14, 2008 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.  The Texans won 13-12.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It is no secret that the Houston Texans have been struggling trying to run the ball on opposing defenses as of late, ranking a pitiful 30th in the league after six weeks, and averaging a horrific 77.3 yards per game.

So who is to blame? Is it the Texans' personnel of running backs in Steve Slaton, and Chris Brown? Are the offensive linemen having too much trouble on their run blocking assignments? Or could it possibly be the play calling by the coaching staff, mainly by the young offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan?

Not only do I believe that it is unfair to point the finger at just one person, but I also feel that it would be recipe for failure in future games to come to do so. There is no telling who is to blame, but there is definitely a feeling in the locker room that something must change immediately.

So how do the Texans fix this problem? It is actually quite simple, they don't! If there is one thing the Houston Texans do well, it is spreading out the ball in their passing game.

Why run the short, and speedy Steve Slaton up the middle of a stacked defensive line like he is a one man wrecking ball, as if he is the great Earl Campbell when he is obviously a much bigger threat on screen passes that can get him out in the open field to utilize his burst of quickness to reach the endzone?

Now by no means am I being trying to be ridiculous, and stating the Houston organization should completely give up on the running game, but I am suggesting that just maybe they should not rely on it as much as they try to.

So as far as the running game goes, I believe that former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Brown should be the front runner to receive the bulk of the load of carries.

Brown, who is famous this season for his goal-line fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week Three, and also for being completely shut down by the Arizona Cardinals defense in yet another goal-line stand on fourth down during Week Five, so it is only human nature that Brown has been under scrutiny as of late in the city of Houston.

With those two plays aside though, Brown has had some spark in the limited amount of time he has had on the field. After last weekend's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Gary Kubiak quoted on Chris Brown, "I'm going to continue with the role I see Chris in on this football team.

"Obviously, Chris responded yesterday. He was much better, especially good at the end of that game. In that fourth quarter and at the end of the game, I think he averaged five yards a carry."

If Chris Brown continues his success in the fourth quarter grinding it out, and improves on his short-yardage game, there's not doubt in my mind the Texans can at least improve their running game from mediocre to half-way decent, and it will open up even more room for the explosive passing offense led by quarterback Matt Schaub.