Tight end Owen Daniels was off to a blazing start in 2009, before suffering a knee injury on the road at Buffalo in Week 8.
The following article contains excerpts from the 2010 Houston Texans Yearbook, the Texans' official season preview magazine, that goes on sale July 30 at Texans Training Camp, presented by Comcast, and the *Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium.*
TIGHT END Who's here: Owen Daniels (projected starter), Joel Dreessen, James Casey, Anthony Hill, Garrett Graham, Derek Fine
Who's new: Graham (rookie draft pick), Fine (free agent signing)
Who's gone: N/A
Tight end is one of the Texans' deepest positions, but it's also the one that was most depleted by injuries in 2009.
Three of the team's four returning tight ends are coming off of surgery: Pro Bowler Owen Daniels (ACL), top backup Joel Dreessen (shoulder, ankle) and 2009 rookie Anthony Hill (ACL). Daniels and Hill are both expected to be limited during training camp, although Daniels expects to be healthy by Week 1 of the regular season.
Before his injury in Week 8 at Buffalo last season, Daniels was leading all NFL tight ends with 497 receiving yards. He was on pace for career-high totals of 89 catches, 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Dreessen, a fifth-year veteran, took over after Daniels' injury and started 11 games in 2009. He more than doubled his career totals with 26 receptions for 320 yards. He set a new career high in receiving yards in each of the last three games of the season, capped by a six-catch, 81-yard performance in the finale.
James Casey, a second-year pro out of Rice, and Garrett Graham (6-3, 241), a rookie from Wisconsin, got most of the reps during OTAs and mini-camp because of the injuries to other players. Casey was singled out by Kubiak as one of the Texans' most impressive players this offseason, while Graham drew favorable comparisons to Daniels, another former Wisconsin Badger drafted in the fourth round by the Texans.
Spotlight on: Garrett Graham Coaches' commentary"We haven't put the pads on and played at the line of scrimmage, but he's not afraid to put his face in there and get on people. He showed that he can make plays in the passing game in OTAs and the mini-camp, and we're hoping that continues to grow throughout training camp. With some of the injuries we had in OTAs, he got a lot of reps with not only the second group but the first group as time went on. Those will be invaluable as we get into the season."
- Tight ends coach Brian Pariani