Now I like Dickie J. just as much as the next guy, meaning not at all, but his article about James Casey is
readable one of the few stories available in the slow grind of the offseason. In it, he talks about the abrupt end to Casey's baseball career and how the misfortune (or fortune, depending on how you look at it) only added fuel to his fire to succeed. No matter how many times I read it, it's impossible not to appreciate Casey being out of competitive football for five years, yet somehow managing to become an NFL player just two years later through sheer determination. Then again, if you have a personal vendetta against Dickie J., it's OK to skip it over. I assume everybody did just that when they read the first sentence of this paragraph.
In case you missed it, Casey posted his fourth diary over at the Texans official website. The key here is that Casey understands what a rookie TE in his situation must do to earn playing time: block, block often, block well. Casey stated that's the first thing he wanted to show coaches he could do and that will be the first thing to earn him a chance on the field other than special teams. We know he can catch. Will he be able to block efficiently by the start of the season? If we've learned anything about Casey, it's not to doubt him, especially when he sets himself a goal. I'm sure he'll be up to speed sooner than most rookies at his position would be. He could stand to learn a thing or two from Anthony Hill while he's at it.
In case you were curious, a while back Madden released it's player ratings for the top ten players at each position in the latest version of the always popular game. Lance Zierlein posted his thoughts of the ratings on his blog and gave his own personal rating to Matt Schaub. No, it was not a 93 as you expected, but instead 84. Uh, what? Zierlein explains that injuries brought him down two points. So your telling me Schaub is only an 86? Ah, the always underrated Texans players.
There are some questionable ratings decisions for the game. Schaub is nowhere to be seen in the top ten among his position, nor is Steve Slaton. Among the head scratching choices ranked ahead of Slaton are Thomas Jones (90), Clinton Portis (93) and LaDainian Tomlinson (94, an obvious sympathy rating). Andre Johnson received his due (98 overall), while Owen Daniels was relegated to ninth place among TEs. You mean to tell me Zach and Heath Miller, John Carlson, Kellen Winslow (feh) and hybrid Dallas Clark are all better than Daniels? On defense, Mario Williams didn't make the cut. Yes Madden, you've got this all figured out... Wait a second, could Dickie be behind this as well!?
The NFL Network put together a nice piece on Steve Slaton and how he can avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. It was mentioned that for the first time this past year, all members of the Texans offensive line started every game. That's an interesting point, but the analyst framed it as an argument for Slaton's future success, however, it is rare to see such good fortune in the NFL. The Texans might not be so lucky this upcoming year, which is why you can never have too much depth on the offensive line. Just ask the Jaguars.