Texans' Lamar Miller hopes to improve as pass catcher

Lamar Miller's standing in Houston remains mostly unchallenged.

Outside of D'Onta Foreman getting healthier, the Texans did little to threaten Miller's playing time entering training camp. Coming off a productive 2018 campaign, Miller is aiming to do more, particularly in the passing game.

"Once you catch the ball, I just think that you make a guy miss or breaking tackles," Miller said, via the Houston Chronicle. "I think that plays a factor into it. This offseason, that's one of the things that I've been working on, just running routes on the outside of the backfield.

"I feel like that's something that I can help this team do. So, heading to training camp, I'm just going to work on my route running and my speed, like always, to try to make big plays and just try to find a way to win."

Despite playing 583 snaps in 2018, per Next Gen Stats, Miller corralled just 25 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown in 14 games. His 2.5 targets per tilt placed him 41st in the league last season, grouped with RBs who played far fewer snaps. Miller has never been a volume receiver out of the backfield through his career -- his career-high 47 receptions came in 2015 in Miami. Pro Football Focus graded Miller as the 51st ranked running back in terms of receiving acumen last season, of players with at least 24 targets.

Given the Texans' woeful offensive line, you'd have expected Deshaun Watson to check down to his running back more last season. Perhaps if Miller improves his availability in 2019, those stats will improve.

A volume runner, Miller has generated 800-plus yards rushing each of the past five seasons, with two 1,000-yard campaigns on his resume. To keep pace with his projected heavy workload, the 28-year-old back focused on shedding body fat this offseason.

"Right now, I'm pretty much the same as I came in last year," Miller said. "Last year, I came in at like 220. So, right now I'm like 220, 221. But I'm going to try to drop my body fat down a little bit heading towards training camp."

Miller's 4.6 yards per attempt last season were a high for his three-year run in Houston. If he can improve as a pass catcher, his effectiveness would increase exponentially. As a shifty speedster who can make people miss in space, getting Miller more involved in the passing game could help make the Texans' offense much more diverse in 2019.

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