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Daniels May Miss Training Camp; Texans TE Competition

Last week Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak told the press that TE Owen Daniels may miss the team’s training camp.  He is currently recovering ahead of schedule from his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, but Kubiak may only want him in noncontact drills when he returns.

“He’s way ahead of schedule and he’s doing very well,” Kubiak said. “It’s been thought of all the time that if we get to camp that he would do some possible work like seven on seven, non-contact type stuff, but not throw him right back into full bang.”

Last season QB Matt Schaub and TE Owen Daniels clicked  ringing Daniels’ up with 40 receptions for 519 yards and five touchdowns.   Games like his 123-yard performance against San Francisco led to a dependable 13-yard per reception average before he went out in week 8.   However, the news of Daniels’ slow return is not all too agitating, because times like these open up opportunities for the backups to receive reps and separate themselves from the competition.  The Houston Texans backup TEs include:

1) James Casey: The window is wide open for Casey.  The Rice intelli-athlete has always shown a knack for catching the ball, but he never showed up in real game-time action last year.  However, just two days ago Kubiak was praising Casey for his skills and smarts.  In fact Kubiak said Casey is “probably having as good as an offseason as anyone.”  With Daniels out and Casey receiving the first team reps, Kubiak said of Casey, “he’s getting an excellent opportunity to prove he can start in this league.  If he keeps going, he’s got an opportunity to be a heck of player.”

2) Joel Dreessen: Joel’s back!  Last week Dreessen returned to Organized Team Activities after admiditly recovering from both ankle and shoulder surgeries.  The fifth year player played through those injuries earning the starting job throughout the end of the 2010 season with Daniels sidelined.  “We didn’t miss a step at all when Joel took over,” tight ends coach Brian Pariani told the Houston Chronicle. “He helped us continue to run the offense the way we wanted to run it.”   That kind of trust is exactly what the Texans needed when Daniels went out and today.  Casey may become a starter someday, but for now, Dreessen has proved he can block and receive in the NFL.

3) Garrett Graham: The rookie and fourth round draft choice was rumored to be pushing for the No. 2 TE job with Dreesen, Casey and Daniels coming off their respective 2009 injuries; however TEs Coach Brian Pariani believes the Texans would have selected Graham whether or not the injuries preexisted.  “I think any time you can add a tight end of that caliber that can catch the ball and block, you’re only adding to what we already have at that position,” Pariani said. “We value this player, and I think we can never have enough tight ends.”  At 6’3″ and 243 pounds, the 23-year old, 2009 first team All-Big Ten selection out of Wisconsin better make an impression fast if he looks forward to real playing time come September.  Last year’s TE rookie offseason surprise, James Casey, never really impressed during the regular season.

4) Michael Gaines: For how short most TEs last in the league, Gaines can be called a TE Journeyman.  Signing with the Texans this offseason, the thirty-year-old has a long resume listing minor stints with the Cleveland Browns (2009), Chicago Bears (2009), Detroit Lions (2008), Buffalo Bills (2007), and the Carolina Panthers (2004-2006).  Gaines is listed at 6’4 and 279 pounds, and at that weight. and with whom the Texans already have at TE, he should continue to fill the blocking tight end role in double tight end sets and goal line formations.

5) Anthony Hill: Not much has been said about Hill this offseason besides the Chronicle’s report that he will not take part in both the OTAs and training camp.  The Texans fourth round draft choice in the 2009 suffered from swine flu in the early part of the season and suffered an ACL tear that required season ending surgery in December.  With Hill out, and Daniels’ status unclear, the Texans will only have three TEs in training camp.  Kubiak said on the issue, “You go carrying six tight ends when you get through training camp, you’ve got other problems at other spots, so we’ve got some work to do from that standpoint.”


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2 Responses to “Daniels May Miss Training Camp; Texans TE Competition”

  1. […] so, impressing coaches especially with Daniels sidelined likely until Week 1.  Since our last analysis of the Texans TE situation in June, Michael Gaines has moved on to the Cleveland Browns, and the […]

  2. […] so, impressing coaches especially with Daniels sidelined likely until Week 1.  Since our last analysis of the Texans TE situation in June, Michael Gaines has moved on to the Cleveland Browns, and the […]

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