The tight end situation will look a bit different for the Houston Texans in ’13. Though they will still have the same starting tight end, the rest of the players on the position combined won’t have the same amount of NFL experience as veteran Owen Daniels.
Daniels will be entering his eighth season, and with the departure of James Casey (who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles), the only other tight end on the roster to see time with Houston in ’12 is Garrett Graham, who played in 15 games last season.
When talking about the TE position for the Texans, the first name that must be said is “Owen Daniels.”
In 15 games (13 starts) last season, Daniels, a Pro Bowl selection, caught 62 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns. He averaged 11.5 yards per catch (47.7 yards per game), with his longest reception being 39 yards.
Daniels hasn’t played a full season since ’08, where he had a career-high in yardage (862) and receptions (70). For his career, Daniels has 361 receptions for 4,365 with 26 touchdowns.
What are the Texans looking to get from Daniels this season?
At the conclusion of the mini camp in June, TE coach Brian Pariani told houstiontexans.com, “With O.D., he’s coming back, he’s healthy. We’re looking forward to a good season. He was very productive last year and went to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career, which is a huge accomplishment.
“His biggest strength is that he can make plays after the catch with the yards after catch ratio, which is usually pretty high for him. One of the things he’s excited about is the running game.”
In the ’12 postseason, Daniels had 18 receptions for 172 yards and no touchdowns. He averaged 9.6 ypc in playoff games against the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots.
With the aformentioned stat of Daniels not playing a full season since ’08, the No. 2 TE position will be very important to the Texans’ offense.
Graham caught 28 passes for 263 yards (15 games) one season ago behind Daniels and Casey. Being a fourth-round draft pick in ’10, Graham has just one reception before ’12 for 24 yards coming in ’11. Graham also caught five passes in the ’12 postseason for 42 yards.
With the loss of Casey, the Texans are losing a player who had 34 receptions last season for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Besides the potential of Graham replacing Casey, who else can bring production for the Texans at TE?
Also on the roster are Jake Byrne (one year), Ryan Griffin (rookie), Adam Schiltz (rookie) and Phillip Supernaw (one year).
Byrne, from Wisconsin, saw no playing time in ’12, and the same can be said about Supernaw.
Griffin was a sixth-round selection this past April out of Connecticut, where the 6-6, 256-pound TE totaled 29 receptions for 484 yards in his final college season. He scored six TDs with an ypc of 16.7, with his longest reception being 74 yards.
Schiltz, who went undrafted, played for Division II Emporia State, where he caught 44 passes for 560 yards.
This could be the most interesting spot on the roster to watch during training camp.