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Houston Texans

OTAs practice report: Day 12


The Texans began their last week of OTAs without tight end Owen Daniels, who has decided to sit out of the voluntary workouts because of contract issues. General manager Rick Smith discussed the situation and remained confident that the team will sign its key players.

Daniels holds out from OTAS: Tight end Owen Daniels has decided not to join the Texans for their last week of OTAs because of a dispute over his contract. The 2009 Pro Bowler, a restricted free agent, took part in the first three weeks of the voluntary workouts while trying to come to terms on a long-term contract with the team.

"We're obviously in the middle of a negotiation, and he is well within his rights to not come because these activities are voluntary," general manager Rick Smith said. "We're wishing he were here like he was last week, continuing to work with his teammates, and we understand that. These things have a way of working themselves out. "

The Texans tendered an offer earlier this offseason to Daniels, a fourth-round draft pick in 2006. In 2008, Daniels caught a career-high 70 passes for 862 yards and two touchdowns. He also ranked in the top five among AFC tight ends in receptions, receiving yards and first-down receptions.

Head coach Gary Kubiak said after Tuesday's practice that he had not yet talked to Daniels about his absence. Joel Dreessen lined up with the first team in place of Daniels, and rookies Anthony Hill and James Casey got more reps.

"It's a voluntary workout, and he's made a decision not to be here," Kubiak said. "If you've been in this league long enough, those things go on. It's part of the business, but it doesn't stop practice. We had a very good practice today. It doesn't stop when we have to be ready for a game in the fall. We just have to get back to work. There were more reps for Joel and Anthony and Casey, so those three guys got better today."

{QUOTE}Daniels is the second Texan to sit out of OTAs this year. Cornerback Dunta Robinson has been holding out because of contract issues after receiving the franchise tag in February.

Smith remains confident that the team will sign its key players.

"We feel like Owen is an important part of this football team," Smith said. "We talk about our philosophy in terms of building; you're trying to take care of those young core players. We are doing that. And when you do that and when you negotiate, there's a lot of variables that are in play and what you try to do is you try to come up with an agreement than benefits both sides.

"We're in the process of doing that; that's where we are. Sometimes those things are easier than other times. We've got a locker room full of players, so we know how to get deals done."

Schaub feeling stronger than ever: When OTAs rolled around last year, quarterback Matt Schaub was finishing rehab on his surgically-repaired shoulder. He wasn't at full strength and appeared slightly hesitant on the field.

That's not the case this year. Schaub entered the offseason healthy and has worked to get stronger than ever.

"Last year, I had that shoulder surgery and I was rehabbing that," Schaub said. "I just feel more comfortable and confident in what I'm doing and what the coaches expect since last year. I just understand the offense that much more. We know what we want to do; we know what we're good at."

The offense was better than good at moving the ball in 2008, finishing third in the NFL in total offense with 381.2 yards per game. What they have to work on is reducing turnovers and scoring in the red zone.

"We need to fix the turnover situation and be better in the turnover margin and be better in the red zone," Schaub said. "We settled for way too many three points last year and we need to get those to sevens, and then we will be a much harder team to beat."

Quotable: "We are the same age, so you can relate well to one another as far as life goes. That helps us bond and be able to talk to one another one-on-one, and not like coach-to-player but like man-to-man, and be able to understand things and what we want out of the offense."
- Quarterback Matt Schaub on working with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan

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