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Houston Texans

Your Texans: Brian Pariani


Pariani enters his second season as Texans tight ends coach.

Texans tight ends coach Brian Pariani isn't crazy in the literal sense. He just seems that way to his players on certain occasions.

"He talks to himself a little bit," tight end Owen Daniels said.

"He's always coaching. He's everybody's coach. He's the receivers coach, the linebacker coach. He lets everyone know. He puts his two cents in whenever he can.

"He knows the playbook like the back of his hand. If people are asking questions in meetings, he's the first to answer. He knows what everyone is doing. That helps us get prepared."

Veteran tight end Jeb Putzier has been with Pariani the longest, through tours at Denver and with the Texans. He probably knows Pariani's idiosyncrasies best.

"He's kind of crazy, a little different," Putzier said.

"He's a detail guy, dot the eye, cross the 't.' That's the type of guy he is. He's kind of like if you've ever seen a chicken with its head cut off. He's an intense guy once game day comes."

Pariani is beginning his second season as Texans tight ends coach. He worked with Texans head coach Gary Kubiak through two Super Bowl seasons with the Broncos. That job included teaching and learning from star pupil Shannon Sharpe.

Pariani leaves his ego at home. He acknowledges learning from his players.

"People don't realize what he (Sharpe) did in the offseason to control his mind and his body to do the things he did during the season,'' Pariani said. "That's when I learned about football that to be a great player you have to take the time in the offseason and dedicate yourself to keeping your body in shape."

Pariani draws on his experiences with Sharpe, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the leading tight end receiver in NFL history.

"Honestly, when he got into camp he got into a system to play with his natural ability," Pariani said. "That's what I've learned from him to pass on to the other guys. If you can take care of your body in the offseason, keep your weight and do those things, if you get into a system that's productive, you have a chance to have a great career in the NFL."

Daniels accepted whatever Pariani was offering.

A fourth-round draftee last year, Daniels became the most productive tight end rookie in the NFL in 2006. Daniels set the Texans' rookie record with five touchdown catches and matched Andre Johnson for the team lead.

"He's taught me to be patient," Daniels said of Pariani. "Dealing with the league and coaches and the game, you can get on edge sometimes, but he tells us to take one play at a time, one day at a time and deal with things like that."

{QUOTE}Daniels started 12 games last season. He caught 34 passes and averaged 10.3 yards per catch in his first NFL season. He credits Pariani along with veteran players Putzier and Mark Bruener with his first-year success.

"You try to find people who are mentally tough enough to play the game," Pariani said. "If you can find those kinds of guys that keep working hard, good things will happen to people who work hard.

"Hopefully, that will happen here and hopefully we'll prosper and become a winning organization as time goes on."

Headless chicken references aside, Pariani knows his business.

"In coaching, I think hard work is the way to go," he said. "I've been very fortunate when I started out in the league. Somebody gave me the opportunity to come in the door and do whatever I had to do to coach.

"I look at players like that when I have to evaluate them. What makes them special and what can we do with them? If you get the right people, you can continue to build. It's hard work. It's not all yelling and screaming. I can get vocal and crazy at times, but it's not to be derogatory to people.

"It's to push them."

Pariani started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UCLA in 1989. He scouted for the 49ers in 1990 and was an offensive assistant at San Francisco before moving to the Broncos in 1995. He was offensive coordinator at Syracuse in 2005 before joining the Texans.

A year under the Texans' new offensive scheme has Pariani thinking about a big step forward this season. It's all pointed to game day.

"I think the game is mental on Sunday," Pariani said. "You take your mental and physical game and that's what it takes to play in this league for a long time. You have to be mentally tough to go out there and play on Sunday.

"I try to test them every day like that. Some days it's positive, some days negative. I think in the end, you try to get the best response for Sunday."

Pariani has been around tight ends most of his coaching career.

"For me, it's a fun position to coach," he said. "You're constantly working tight ends, h-backs, fullbacks, so you're covering a lot of aspects of the game. It's fun. This group is going. It's not one player, it's the group that makes us get better."

The tight ends position has more prominence in Kubiak's scheme.

"Using the tight end in this offense is really important,"' Pariani said. "I think having a chance to play in that offense for one year has made them understand that coming in year two they must improve.

"You try to bring teaching foundation, fundamentals and the running game. It all starts with the running game and then pass protection. You try to teach them to go out every day and get better every day and you also try to find people who are mentally tough enough to play the game."

As game day approaches, Pariani talks less.

"If you have guys who know what they're doing and are really smart and understand the offense and are dedicated, it makes it easy for a coach to go to work every day," he said.

That's how his job is with the Texans.

"When it comes to Sunday, they know what's going on," he said. "I get quieter and quieter and not on them as much, knowing that Sunday is when they have to perform. I get out of their ear as the week goes on.''

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

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