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Houston Texans

A look at the tight ends

The 2006 season marked the finest campaign for Houston Texans tight ends in team annals. With all three key contributors back this season, 2007 looks to be a record breaking year for Texans tight ends.

The unit is led by Owen Daniels who emerged in 2006 as one of the best receiving tight ends in football in just his rookie season. Daniels' five touchdown catches was a team-high for tight end, but even with his success, Daniels doesn't have a target in mind for 2007 touchdown receptions.

"I really don't have number goals for myself, I want to be more consistent than I was last year," Daniels said. "I started off pretty well the first seven games and didn't do much the last seven I played in so if I can keep that consistency over the last part of the season, I'll be happy with that.

"If I score four touchdowns and we win more games, I'll be a lot happier than if I score eight touchdowns and we don't go to the playoffs."

Daniels is joined by veterans Mark Bruener and Jeb Putzier. Bruener, one of the league's premiere blocking ends, is entering his 13th NFL season, but caught two touchdown passes a year ago, his first scores of his Texans career.

Bruener's leadership is something that can't be easily replaced and he should once again be invaluable around the goalline.

Putzier was nagged by injuries in 2006, but looks poised for a huge season. He's slimmed 20 pounds and looks to be the down-field threat that the Texans thought they were signing prior to last year.

"We have three guys that can really contribute and you don't find that on a lot of teams," Daniels said. "Tight ends are a big part of our offense so we're in good shape there.

"Overall, I expect a more productive offense overall, the running game, the passing game, everything. Jeb is looking better than he did last year and Bruener is looking good like he always does and I feel good so I think we're all going to contribute a lot."

Daniels missed the final two games of the 2007 campaign with a minor shoulder injury. It's healed now and shouldn't be a problem during training camp.

"Shoulder is feeling good, but I don't know what the plan is for me during training camp," Daniels said. "They had me take it kind of easy during OTA's, but if they want me to go every practice, I'm ready to go."

{QUOTE}With a healthy Daniels in the fold to go along with Putzier and Bruener, new quarterback Matt Schaub should have plenty of options in the passing game. And with so much talent at the position, Texans tight ends might be utilized in ways never before seen by fans at Reliant Stadium.

"We've got some new wrinkles," Daniels said. "You can expect the tight end to line-up anywhere, out wide, in the slot, or even in the backfield."

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