Texans OTAs: Houston Signs Justin Griffith, Two Others

Updating your Texans transactions from now until Game 1 with the Indianapolis Colts.

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Texans Sign Griffith, Two Others, Make First Cuts

According to John McClain at the Houston Chronicle, the Texans have waived a slew of their undrafted free agents: fullback Jack Corcoran, guard Kristian Matte, linebacker Will Patterson, wide receiver London Crawford, quarterback Tyler Sheehan and tackle Adam Ulatoski were all given the red tag in their lockers today. Joining them was veteran tight end Michael Gaines, who didn't have much of a case for a roster spot as long as the Texans TE's proved they were healthy.

On the other side, three of the tryout group mentioned yesterday survived and were handed contracts: veteran fullback Justin Griffith, tight end Derrick Fine and wide receiver Bobby Williams were signed as OTAs wrapped up for the Texans. There will be no more offseason work until training camp opens up on July 31.  

Corcoran had become my pet case of the undrafted free agents that the Texans had signed post-draft, as a strong blocker that could push Vonta Leach after his poor year, but apparently the Texans wanted more of a sure thing to push him and opted for the seven-year veteran Griffith, who spent last season with the Seahawks.

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Texans To Try Out Seven; You May Have Heard Of Two

Nick Scurfield mentions via HoustonTexans.com that the Texans are bringing in seven players to mini-camp for a tryout:

Three of the seven players are undrafted rookie free agents: cornerback Kasey Brown from Northwestern State, long snapper Preston Powers of Ole Miss and wide receiver Derrick Townsel of Murray State.

The other four are fullback Justin Griffith, a 2003 fourth-round pick who has been with three different teams at the same time as Texans offensive coordinator Greg Knapp (Atlanta Falcons, 2004-06; Oakland Raiders, 2007-08; Seattle Seahawks, 2009); defensive end William VanDeSteeg, a 2009 undrafted free agent out of Minnesota; cornerback Frank Walker, a 2003 sixth-round pick of the New York Giants who spent the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens; and wide receiver Bobby Williams, a 2009 undrafted free agent out of North Alabama.

Of these two, the only real NFL players are Walker and Griffith. Walker, who was a cornerback for the Ravens last year, got inconsistent work in the regular season, but wound up as the nickelback in the playoffs after injuries hit the Ravens secondary. He performed admirably, but at age 30, he's no lock to make any roster or even push any of the current Texans corners.

Griffith, a blocking fullback, spent last year in Seattle and did a decent job of run blocking in a situation where his offensive line was falling apart right in front of his eyes. Like Walker, he's rather old for an NFL player at 29, but this signing, along with the inking of undrafted free agent Jack Corcoran earlier in the offseason, do show that Vonta Leach should be watching his back after last year's uninspired performance.

As for the other guys...well, William VanDeSteeg is a really awesome name, so I'm sure even if he fails to make the team, he can feel confident in himself going forward.

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Will This Be The Last Year Of Daniels In Houston?

Battle Red Blog speculates it just might:

So at least one more year in H-Town for OD. Question is whether he’s here in 2011. Given the situation at TE and OD’s desire for the security of a big money, long-term deal, I’m guessing this is the last year we have the privilege of watching OD ply his trade as a Texan. Agree?

I’ve got no counter-argument. The only way I can see Daniels back in Houston at this point is if he gets hurt again and his value tumbles so low that GM Rick Smith can’t help but take the upside risk. Even then, Daniels might prefer to try his luck with another club since long-term contract talks have been going nowhere with the Texans ever since he first qualified for restricted free agency.

Not to mention the fact that the Texans can’t seem to go even one draft without snagging another tight end (Anthony Hill, James Casey, Garrett Graham) to add to the arsenal.

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Pass Catching Weapon Daniels Inks Tender

The Houston Texans continue their freewheeling ways, agreeing to terms on a 1-year tender with perpetual receiving threat tight end Owen Daniels, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Per Schefter, Daniels agreed to a $3.168 million tender Friday, a team source told him. Daniels appeared well on his way to his first 1000+ yard season until a Week 8 tear of his right ACL shut down his 2009. Daniels' agreeing to the deal indicates he should be ready to participate come training camp and, health permitting, hopefully a return to form. Just one week prior to injury, Daniels recorded a 7-catch, 123 yard 1 TD game in the Texans' victory over San Francisco.

While the early incarnations of the Texans never offered much besides nostalgia (wither Billy Miller) at the tight end position, Daniels has provided a potential Pro Bowl caliber contributor at the slot in addition to veteran leadership to the seemingly surplus of young accessories the team now garners. And while there may be no bigger fans of Rice product  James Casey than us here at SBNHouston, you'd be hard pressed to find a voice of dissent in the thinking that the return of Daniels makes for addition by addition.

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Classy Team, Player, Part Ways

The Texans have built up quite a stable of young talented running backs. Between Arian Foster’s emergence at the end of last season, second round rookie Ben Tate, and the possible comeback of Steve Slaton, it was very clear that Ryan Moats was only going to see the field if injuries struck the backfield hard.

With Jeremiah Johnson now healthy and Chris Henry also chomping at the bit to get off the practice squad, Moats was checking his rearview mirror as well. This was a case of a release that the Texans didn’t have to make. They could have kept Moats on the roster as injury insurance throughout training camp. But instead, the Texans showed a lot of class in releasing him and letting him try to find a better situation to see the field in another city.

Moats is never going on a Texans Fan’s Mount Rushmore or anything, but his Week 8 game against the Bills last year will go down in the historical annals with Ron Dayne’s 153 yards and 2 TD’s against Indianapolis as fondly remembered flukes.

And hey, there are worse fates. He could’ve been remembered like Stacey Mack is.

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Texans Release Ryan Moats

Ryan Moats, Texans backup running back, was released today according to the official team site.

Moats, who was occasionally inserted into the starting lineup last season, ran for 390 yards and four touchdowns on his 101 carries.

Moats' best game came in week eight when he came off the bench to rush for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries against the Buffalo Bills.

HoustonTexans.com staff writer Nick Scurfield weighed in on Twitter.

Moats is one of the classiest and friendliest players I've been around. Here's to hoping he lands on his feet somewhere.

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