Tight end James Casey, drafted in the fifth round (152nd overall) this April, is a former minor league baseball player who joined the Texans as a 24-year-old rookie from Rice. He has been chronicling his rookie season with weekly diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.*
That last game against the Cardinals really hurt. To come as close as we did and to not get the job done, I think everybody on the team was hurting after that loss. We feel like we're a really good team and we can play with anybody, but the bottom line is we're 2-3 and we just haven't gotten the job done.
I'm not really into moral victories. You either win or you lose. In this business, the game comes down to a couple of plays, and we've got to find a way, whatever it is, to make those plays. Whether it's an ugly game or not, no matter how the game plays out, we've got to make sure we come out on top in the end.
As bad as that Arizona loss hurt, we're still 2-3 and have everything in front of us. We're really focused on going up to Cincinnati this week and making those plays and hopefully coming out with a win and getting back to .500. We know we've got to show up right now, because you can't wait until the end of the season to start winning a lot of football games.
The Bengals are a really good football team. Obviously, their record shows that; they're 4-1, and they lost to Denver on that fluke tipped pass. But you look at our season, too; I know a lot of people have said we could be 4-1. It's something that you really don't want to talk about because we're not 4-1, but it's just those little plays here and there that separate winning from losing.
We know they're a good team – they've been running the ball well and have some good returners and a good defense – but every team in the NFL is good. You've got to show up every week in this league, and that's something I've really come to realize. Every week is a challenge; every game's a battle. You don't have any games you think you should win.
I actually got to play quite a bit of snaps last week, which was exciting. The more I can get in there is obviously good for me. I started on punt team for the first time, and I also started on kickoff return and feel like I did a really good job. I had one really good block for André Davis on his 60-yard kickoff return that put us in good position at the very end. I ran down a couple of kickoffs and didn't make a tackle, but I did my responsibility.
Also, I got to get in on offense on a couple snaps, and that was great. I'm hoping to get more and more opportunities as the season goes on. I had one play down the sidelines where if I would've made the catch it would've been a really, really amazing play. But I didn't, and I expect to make those plays. If I touch it at all, I feel like I should catch it.
It's frustrating because I haven't been getting many opportunities and when I get one like that, I don't come down with it. Luckily, we still scored on the drive, but I've got to be ready for my next opportunity and try to make a special play to help the team the next time I get a chance.
Unfortunately, I came down with some food poisoning, I believe, this week. I'm not going to mention where it came from because I'm not 100 percent positive and I don't want to throw any place under the bus, but I got something to eat and went home and started feeling bad. When I was eating it, I kind of smelled it and it smelled a little funny. But I didn't think anything of it, so I ate it anyway. That's kind of like the famous last words. I ate it anyway, and the next thing I knew I was passed out and feeling terrible.
I called our trainer, Geoff Kaplan, and he said to go to the hospital to get an IV. So I went to Methodist Hospital on Tuesday and ended up staying there overnight. They really treated me top notch and took great care of me.
I got up and checked myself out of the hospital at like 4:45 a.m. the next day. I wanted to practice so bad, because I know how important it is. When you're in the NFL, you're always worried about somebody taking your job and you don't ever want to miss anything. They had given me some IVs and some medicine and I was feeling a lot better, but I still had no appetite. The last thing I ate was the thing that made me sick.
I was still sick when I got to the field, so they sent me back to the hospital. They stuck me with another needle and gave me some more IVs there. I think they pumped like six bags of IV fluid into me. I finally got to get out of the hospital at like 3 o'clock on Wednesday, so I missed Wednesday's practice.
But in the NFL, they film all the meetings, so I went home Wednesday night and got to watch the film of the actual team meeting, special teams meeting and offensive meeting. It was almost like I didn't miss anything besides the practice because I got to watch the coaches on DVD and got caught up with everything, and they had somebody bring the playbook to my house.
It's kind of crazy what technology can do nowadays. I also watched film on practice, so I got caught up really fast and I practiced Thursday and Friday and I'm fine now. It could've been a lot worse. I'm lucky it was just food poisoning. If anyone's ever had food poisoning before, they know how bad that is, how bad it makes you feel.
I'm really excited for this game. I felt like I played pretty well on the snaps I was in last week, and I'm ready to keep building on what I've done and keep getting better and better. I still feel like it's not the coaches' job to give me opportunities, it's my job to prove to the coaches that they can trust me and that I can play and help the team.
The main thing is jut winning football games and doing whatever I can do to help the team, whether that's going in for a couple of plays on special teams or cheering from the sidelines. When you lose like we did last week, you want to get out there fast, go get a win and get this thing back on track at 3-3. From there, anything can happen as long as we keep battling each week and show everybody that we're a good team.
Thanks for reading and for all of your support. Please **send in** any questions or comments, and I'll do my best to address them in a future rookie diary.
James Casey rookie diary archive10/9: Making bigger contributions; swine flu
10/2: Step-by-step through the game day experience
9/25: First road game; getting ready for a Rice reunion
9/18: My first game; buying a new suit
9/7: Making the 53-man roster
8/29: Preparing for Monday Night Football
8/25: Playing at Reliant Stadium; trying different positions
8/18: First road trip, first NFL game
8/12: Camp life; preparing for Kansas City
8/1: The first two days of camp; filling in at fullback
7/19: A busy week; thoughts on the MLB All-Star Game
7/10: Rookie symposium; preparing for camp
6/21: My first month as a Texan
6/14: Wrapping up OTAs
6/5: Playing golf; signing autographs
5/29: First two weeks on the job