WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (CBS HOUSTON) – It was just four years ago when Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller was a two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year at quarterback for Ohio State.
After a shoulder injury sidelined him for his senior season, all while watching his the Buckeyes win a national title with JT Barrett and Cardale Jones as the signal callers in 2014. He returned to the Buckeyes in 2015 as a wide receiver and began a transition that would help towards his eventual professional career.
Miller, now in his second year with the Texans after being drafted in the 3rd round in 2016 is still learning the nuances of being a wide receiver at the professional level, but he’s growing confidence in Bill O’Brien complex Texans offense.
“Last year I was like ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a playbook like this.’ So now it’s like I have to put the extra time in and study,”Miller said on Thursday after practice. “Last year I was just lining up this, just trying to figure out what’s my assignment instead of worrying about the defense and stuff like that.”
Miller struggled with inconsistent playing time and injuries during the 2016 season and finished with just 15 receptions for 99 receiving yards and a single touchdown in ten games and six starts. He’s receiving a lot of praise from his teammates and coaches throughout the offseason, including from new offensive assistant Wes Welker who, like Miller, played the slot position. O’Brien has seen a lot of progress in Miller who will be asked to play an even larger role in 2017.
“He’s picking it up really well,” O’Brien said about Miller’s growth in his sophomore season with the Texans. “He was coming along last year, he got hurt against Green Bay and that was tough, but he’s really had a good spring, a very good training camp. He really understands what we’re trying to do.”
The comfort level is there with Miller now as well. He’s no longer worried about positioning or remembering the plays and their variants.
“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Miller said. “It was me versus the playbook last year, now it’s me versus the defense. I can understand more of the coverages, more of the technique of the routes and stuff like that. So, now it’s just like come out here and just perform.”
With Will Fuller suffering an injured collarbone earlier this week, Miller will likely be called upon to further expedite his development. Miller isn’t feeling any added pressure to perform.
“No pressure at all. I’ve been playing the game of football for a long time. A lot of things have happened in my career. Stuff like that will happen. You just put in extra time and extra work and just rely on your ability and your family and your teammates around you,” Miller said.
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio