Lovie Smith admits Texans need better offensive play-calling

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(SportsRadio 610) - Nothing about the Texans' passing offense is acceptable.

They have the lowest passer rating (74.6), the most interceptions (15) and the least efficient passing game in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.

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"Just not quite there," Texans head coach Lovie Smith said after Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns. "We're not a good offense right now. We're still searching for what we can do well. When we did try to run the football, I thought Dameon Pierce continues to play the same way, but we've got to find a way, some kind of way, to get our passing game going."

And it's not like they haven't tried different things. Early in the season, it was about more prominently featuring Pierce, their standout rookie running back, and fewer touches for the aging veteran Rex Burkhead.

That unlocked a running game which helped Pierce become a top-eight rusher in the league and has since been the only redeeming quality of Houston's offense. It did not open up a passing game previously led by quarterback Davis Mills, who was benched two weeks ago for Kyle Allen.

Neither quarterback has been effective in first-year coordinator Pep Hamilton's offense. It's entirely possible (likely, even) that neither quarterback is any good.

But what becomes clearer each week is this coaching staff, and Hamilton in particular, is underperforming as a play-caller.

When asked Monday afternoon how he would like to see the offensive play-calling improve, Smith acknowledged they got way from their identity Sunday. Pierce had 11 carries for 57 yards in the first half, but just seven carries for 16 yards in the second half.

Allen also threw an interception on the first play of the game and later a pick-six. What, exactly, is Hamilton's role in the offensive failures?

"When I talk about our play has to get better, we’re a part of that," Smith said. "We probably got away from who we are a little bit offensively yesterday, we need to come back to it. Our offense starts with Dameon Pierce. We have to look at how many carries, number one. I don’t think he was really shutdown yesterday. We probably shut him down more than anything."

Smith, who doubles as the Texans' defensive play-caller, has insisted he does not plan on making changes on the offensive side with Hamilton, who was elevated from quarterbacks coach when Smith was hired as head coach in the offseason.

Brandon Scott is the editor for SportsRadio610.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandonkscottReach him directly via email: brandon.scott@audacy.com.

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