Editor's note:Tight end **Owen Daniels* writes his final diary of the season for HoustonTexans.com. Daniels provided periodic entries to give fans insight into the life of a rookie draft pick. *
The season's over and it went by actually pretty fast. It's a really long season, longer than I'm used to, but once we got into playing the real games, it went pretty fast. I felt like training camp would never end, but then before I knew it, the season flew by.
Now we have some time off to rest up, relax and get away from football for a little bit. We don't have to be here until April 2 to start working out as a team. We won't practice, just lift some weights, run and do some other conditioning together.
Meanwhile, I'll be on my own. My first focus is to make sure my shoulder is okay. We're going to figure out what will be the best option for my injured shoulder in the next week and a half. If it continues to get better, then I don't have to worry about much. That's what I'm hoping for.
Most of my time this offseason is going to be spent here in Houston because I have bills to pay and stuff like that. But I do have a trip to Vegas planned for this Thursday through Friday – only 24 hours. Above all, I want to spend the majority of my time in Houston so that I can get my shoulder fixed and ready for my second year in the league.
We came back to Reliant Stadium this week to clean up our lockers. I really didn't have that much stuff in there. I just took home the stuff that I needed. We got to take all the game jerseys and helmet, but that was pretty much it. I walked in there yesterday morning and the equipment staff was in cleaning and vacuuming our lockers. I've never seen so many shoes in my life scattered all over the floor because the equipment guys had to clean out all our junk. It was unreal how many cleats and gym shoes there were.
We didn't have an end-of-the-year meeting, but we all did have to come in and meet with our position coaches and meet with general manager Rick Smith. He told me that I did a great job this year, that I had a pretty good year and that he was proud of me for doing what I did. It felt good to hear that from him. His opinion means a lot, so it was good to hear him say that. Tight ends coach Brian Pariani said a lot of the same stuff, but it was more along the lines of telling me stuff that I need to work on, which was what I needed to hear.
As a team, we ended the season on the best note possible. It was great to end the season with two wins. That really was a beautiful thing. I wish I could have been a part of those wins, but it's a good start for next year for sure.
Speaking of next year, the offseason started almost as soon as we left the stadium on Sunday afternoon. I'm not a rookie any more, and I learned a whole lot in the last couple of months. In approaching next year, I'll know exactly what to expect from mini-camps, OTAs, workouts in general and training camp. I'll have a better feel for coach Kubiak and the way that he does things. So I'm looking forward to it.
Training camp is training camp. It's hard regardless of whether you know what to expect or not. I'll just be more comfortable, and that'll help me out a lot with my confidence. All that stuff adds up to just being more at ease around the facility and people knowing who you are and what to expect of you, and me knowing what to expect from them.
The next time we walk into that locker room as a team, I won't be part of the rookie class. But there will be some rookies in our locker room, and if I could tell them something, I would tell them to keep their mouth shut while being a friendly person. It sounds harsh, but all of us have been through it before and I really do believe in that. I'll be in my second year, but there are a lot of guys who have been in the league a long time, and you're not going to tell them or teach them anything that they already don't know.
The biggest thing is to go out there, work and learn. Learning from the other older guys is crucial. You don't want to draw too much attention to yourself away from the field. On the field, you want to go out there, play hard and make sure you know exactly what's going on. That was a big thing for me. I was always on my playbook going through my scripts every day before practice to make sure that I knew what was going on and to make sure I knew exactly what I was going to do in every play that I was in. Coaches can be a little more lenient in terms of making a physical mistake like dropping a ball – as long as you're giving good effort. But if you're making a mental mistake, like not knowing what you're supposed to be doing, that shows a lack of effort. Coaches just want guys who know what's going on and who know what they're supposed to be doing at all times.
At the beginning of this year, I never really had any statistical goals or expectations for myself, but that is something that I can do for this upcoming year. At some point this year, I thought that I could get 50 catches with 11 games in. I needed like 20 catches to get to 50. I thought with five games left and playing the way I was playing that I could get four catches a game. That ended up not happening, but it was my first goal and now I need to work on setting those goals for 2007.
In general, I need to keep improving. I need to get some strength in the offseason because I think that's going to help me out a lot blocking in the running game and in the passing game. Overall, I feel like I did a pretty good job, probably better than people expected of me in terms of blocking and pass protecting this year because that was a doubt people had of me coming out of college. People thought I couldn't get the job done down in the trenches and that I couldn't play on the line of scrimmage as a normal tight end. But I did it and I've got to keep improving there. A collective goal next season would be to become a playoff team and celebrate a playoff berth.
](http://store.houstontexans.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1865446&cp=2237490&parentPage=family&clickid=mainnavgeartxt&parentPage=family)By now, after all these diary entries, you've probably figured out something else about me that's not football related. I'm a big family guy. I had around 20 people here who all came to see me play, but unfortunately they didn't get to see me play because I was injured. My whole immediate family, my grandparents, most of my mom's brothers and sisters, one of my dad's sisters and my buddy and his girlfriend were here. I mostly hung out with my immediate family, but having everybody around really meant a lot to me. We had a great time and I just hope they know how much I appreciate their support throughout this year.
On that same note, I appreciate the support our fans have showed throughout the season. I know it's been hard for all of us. I was in the Budweiser Plaza at Reliant Stadium after the game this past weekend. I went out there to thank the fans and everyone who's been reading my diary. I appreciate you reading it, and on behalf of my teammates, we appreciate all the support from all the fans. I hope you know that we are on the right track to do better things next year. I can't thank you enough for reading and having interest in me and what I've done this year. I hope you've enjoyed reading a little bit into my life as a rookie and the things that went on week-to-week. Happy New Year and I'll see you in the fall!