Rookie diary: James Casey

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EDITOR'S NOTE:

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.*

Everyone's been saying "A win's a win" after our game in St. Louis. I think I heard Coach Kubiak say there's no such thing as an ugly win, and that's what it's all about. It goes down as a "W" in the record books. It was sloppy, it wasn't the prettiest game, but we got the job done and we got back to .500, and it feels really good to not have a losing record now.

We kept ourselves in the hunt for the playoffs, and it's cool to still be able to talk about the playoffs around Christmas time. We've got a really, really big game coming up against the Dolphins at Miami this Sunday. Like Coach Kubiak said, it's an elimination game. Whoever loses this game is definitely out of the playoff hunt. Whoever wins is still alive, and it sets up a big-time game in our last game against New England.

But we've just got to worry about taking care of our business against Miami, because the whole playoff picture right now is crazy. I've been looking at it like a lot of other people have, and pretty much everybody in the AFC is still alive for a playoff berth besides like four teams.

I know the possibilities are probably pretty small, but crazy things have happened before and if we win out and get to 9-7, it's definitely possible. A lot of these other teams could lose and we'd have to have a lot of stuff work out for us, but it's still possible. So we're treating this Miami game pretty much like it's a playoff game for us. We've got to make sure we're on top of everything and go down there and get the job done.

It's kind of weird having a game right after Christmas and having to work right through the Christmas week, but I know that I'm obviously extremely blessed to be able to play in the NFL. Christmas is all about giving back, and I was fortunate to kind of do that this week. David Anderson had a "Shop with a Jock" event at Wal-Mart on Monday. He invited everybody on the team to come out, so I went there with my wife.

{QUOTE}I think there were 50 kids, and he gave all of them a $100 Wal-Mart gift certificate to shop and get whatever they wanted. My wife and I got paired up with these two girls that were really awesome. We got to take them around shopping, and just to see their faces and know how fun it was for them, it was a really fun time.

Monday was also my wife and I's fourth anniversary, so we had a really busy day. First, we did some last-minute Christmas shopping so I could make sure to get my wife her anniversary present and Christmas present. After David's event, we went out to eat to celebrate four years together.

This has been a really special year for us. We have a child on the way and I've been playing in the NFL, so it was fun to be able to sit down at dinner and look back at the stuff we've been through, and also to realize this will be our last Christmas with just us two. We're going to have a little one here next year and he'll be six or seven months old at Christmas, so our Christmases will be totally changed from now on. We're really trying to enjoy this one with just the two of us, but it's going to be a lot more fun next year when we've got a little one to buy a bunch of gifts for.

My wife's mother came down for Christmas, so she and my wife and I are going to hang out together on Friday. We probably won't do much besides opening our presents; other than that, I'm going to be working.

Even though it's Christmas, I'm still going to be watching film and making sure I'm on top of everything and ready to go for Miami. Everybody knows this is a huge game for us, so I'm going to watch as much film as I can to make sure I'm as prepared as possible. There would be nothing better for a late Christmas present than to go down to Miami and get a win. My main focus is on that, and if we can do that, it'd be an awesome Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everybody. Thanks for reading and for your support.

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