Updated: What Owen Daniels’ Injury Means For the Houston Texans
Oct 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels (81) runs with the ball after making a catch against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Texans 34-3. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels will miss some game time due to a broken fibula, possibly 4-8 weeks, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
The disaster of the past three weeks continues to get worse for the reigning AFC South champions. The loss of Daniels, who had two MRIs on his fibula Monday, will really hamper the Texans’ offense even more.
Daniels is a “go-to guy” for quarterback Matt Schaub, and with his playing time being as unsettling as it currently is, losing Daniels might be the blow that finally sends Schaub to the bench for good this season.
If the Texans were to lose a player with the talent Daniels has (24 receptions, 252 yards, three touchdowns) for up to eight weeks (a possibility), that could spell the end for the Texans’ chances to catch the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South standings.
Daniels is one of the better tight ends in the NFL, and his career speaks for itself. He hasn’t played a full regular season since 2008 and only played in two full regular seasons his entire career (the other being 2007).
The two seasons the Texans have made the playoffs, Daniels has played in 30 of a possible 32 regular-season games, missing one game in each of the past two seasons.
Daniels has already caught half of his touchdown total he compiled last season, which was a career-high at six. This season, the eight-year NFL veteran is averaging 10.5 yards per catch and 50.4 yards per game.
With Daniels out, this will be a great opportunity for the Texans to release what I like to call their secret weapon in No. 2 tight end Garrett Graham.
Sep 29, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans tight end Garrett Graham (88) makes a reception during the second quarter as Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) makes a tackle at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
In five games during what is his rookie season, Graham has caught 15 passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns. He’s averaging 9.4 ypc and 28.2 ypg.
With Daniels missing some time this is Graham’s time to prove he deserves consideration for more snaps in a game. He’s a good player in the red zone, plus he seems to follow and embrace what his role has been this season.
Graham isn’t up to the caliber of player that Daniels is, but he seems to have all the intangibles to become a sold, productive tight end for the Texans.
Graham must step in and produce quickly for the struggling offense.