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Dameon Pierce didn’t play in preseason Week 2, likely because he’s already earned No. 1 job

Dameon Pierce may not have had the biggest workload at Florida, but Mike Florio and Chris Simms look at why the young player shouldn't be forgotten.

Technically, the Texans are listing rookie Dameon Pierce as their third-string running back, behind Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead. But unofficially, Pierce appears to have the starting running back job locked up.

The strongest sign that Pierce is the Texans’ No. 1 running back came from what Pierce didn’t do in Friday night’s second preseason game: Pierce didn’t play, and head coach Lovie Smith said afterward that the Texans didn’t need to see him. That’s usually the approach that teams take with starters, not with third-stringers.

Pierce was the Texans’ leading rusher in their first preseason game last week, and reports out of training camp have indicated that Pierce is the best running back on the field.

It also helps Pierce that neither Mack nor Burkhead looked particularly good on Friday night: Mack had eight carries for 29 yards and no catches; Burkhead had two carries for five yards and three catches for nine yards.

Officially, the Texans aren’t ready to hand the starting job to their fourth-round rookie just yet, but suffice to say he’s the heavy favorite to be their leading rusher this season, starting in Week One.