Owen Daniels: Start Him Week One?

Owen Daniels received medical clearance by Dr. James Andrews today. Kubes says OD is "fired up." Andre Johnson says OD's fist is pumping. We're awaiting word from Matt Schaub as to whether Daniels' foot is a tappin'.

Before Owen Daniels went down in Buffalo last year, he was having as good a season as any TE in the league. In games where OD played, your Houston Texans were 5-3. They proceeded to lose their next four (4) after OD went down before rallying to finish 4-4 sans Owen Daniels. At first glance, it might be tempting to pull out the ol' jump-to-conclusions mat and declare that losing OD submarined the Texans' 2009 season. Speaking of jumping...

Joel Dreessen did an increasingly admirable job filling in for Daniels as the season progressed, and truth be told, Schaub managed to post 300+ passing yards in five of the eight (8) OD-less contests. Thus, it strikes me as a bit erroneous to attribute the 4-4 finish to the '09 season strictly--or even mostly--to Owen Daniels' absence. The passing game remained strong without OD, which is not so much a slight to OD as it is praise for the Texans' system.

With that reality in mind, is there any way you consider bringing Daniels back slowly if you're Smithiak? If OD doesn't get any preseason game snaps, do you feel good about inserting him immediately into the starting lineup when the games start to count in Week One? Or do you ease him into a role, splitting time with Dreessen and James Casey, with an eye toward increasing his workload steadily to a point where the transition to starter is much more gradual? Voice your strategery in the Comments below.

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