Rookie diary: James Casey

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EDITOR'S NOTE: *Tight end James Casey, drafted in the fifth round (152nd overall) this April, is a former minor league baseball player who joins the Texans as a 24-year-old rookie from Rice. In his third diary entry for HoustonTexans.com, Casey discusses the completion of OTAs.

*The last week of OTAs was great. I think I finished pretty strong. We're coming back next week and doing our minicamp Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but I thought it was a great experience getting to go through those first 14 practices. I think I learned a lot. Toward the end, I was starting to get things down.

I was still making little mistakes, though – not things like running the wrong routes, but things like not getting to my landmark or using proper technique in my routes and not making the same mistake twice. That's what'll get you in trouble, if you keep doing the same thing wrong. But for the most part, I think I did a pretty good job in OTAs. I'm kind of getting accustomed to how everything works, and I'm excited about this minicamp and then really excited about getting to training camp after that.

I think I was running routes pretty well and catching balls pretty well. I think as OTAs went on, I got better at blocking. That's something that's pretty foreign to me, the blocking stuff. Even just getting down into a three-point stance is pretty new to me, so I'm just working on getting used to it and getting self-confident doing it. It's kind of one of those deals where I've just got to keep coming out here and getting better every day and just keep showing them I'm improving. I've got to be consistent and show that they can trust me.

I know that's going to be a big deal for me. I think they've seen me in college catch a lot of passes and run a lot of routes and they think I can do some of that stuff, but the blocking stuff is something they're kind of unsure of. It's tough right now because we're just in helmets, so you can't really prove too much because you're not in shoulder pads. But once training camp comes around, it's something I really have to try to show them I can do so they can trust me blocking and know I'm not going to go out there and get anybody killed.

Working with coach Brian Pariani has been great. He's a great guy; I couldn't be any happier with my position coach. He's got two brand new tight ends— me and Anthony Hill – and we're both going through the same things, so he's doing a great job of coaching us up, consistently giving us tips and pointers, because we've obviously got a lot to learn.

{QUOTE}He's really been emphasizing a lot of the small stuff to us. Now that we're starting to get the playbook down a little bit and we kind of know our routes and blocking assignments, it's the small things about staying square on your blocks and coming off the ball hard and your alignment and getting to your landmark on your routes. Things like that are what he really keeps emphasizing to us.

Anthony and I ended up getting a lot more reps in this last week since Owen Daniels wasn't here, because he was obviously taking a lot of reps while he was here. It was good to get the experience and get in there with the first team some. Any time I can get in there for some plays, it's good, because I'm just going to get better as I get more comfortable and learn the plays. So I'm just trying to get in there as much as possible because I know the more I do, the better I'm going to be.

This whole experience has been a lot different than playing baseball. Going into the minor leagues, I had no idea what to expect as far as being a professional athlete and how intense it was and that it was a job. I was only 18 years old, straight out of high school, my first time out of the house, moving somewhere completely different. I went to Virginia right out of high school, like right after I graduated.

Now that I've had the experience of playing professional baseball, I was more prepared coming in here and treating it like a job, being professional, going about my business and working hard to make sure I have no regrets and really enjoy it, because I know it's not going to last long. That's something I really didn't realize in baseball. I thought I was going to be out there playing in the Major Leagues for 10 years, 15 years, be in the Hall of Fame like every person who gets drafted thinks. But now, I understand it's not going to last long, so I just really try and enjoy the process and the whole experience.

To answer what some fans have been asking, there hasn't been too much rookie hazing – not yet, at least. I think some of that stuff will probably be coming during training camp since we're just all in OTAs right now. Going into it, I was expecting something just from watching Hard Knocks, where you see the rookies go through some stuff like that. But you know, I'm in the NFL. Whatever they do, I'll be OK with. I can't really complain about anything.

Thanks again to everyone for reading this and for all of your support. I'm having a great time out here, and I look forward to catching back up with everybody after minicamp next week.

**James Casey rookie diary archive

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To send in a question for Casey that you'd like to see answered in a future diary entry, click *[here](mailto:nscurfield@houstontexans.com?subject=Question for James Casey).*

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