The Houston Texans receiving corps is already starting to get the attention that it deserves. The Texans have been projected to rank 15th in total yards passing by Michael Harmon of FOXSports.com.
In 2005 the Texans were ranked 19th of the NFL's 32 professional teams with 2,488 passing yards. It seems that off season signings of WR Eric Moulds and TE Jeb Putzier are beginning to get the Texans noticed.
Sure, the Texans already have some solid talent with great hands in players like Andre Johnson and Domanick Davis. But by adding Moulds and Putzier to the roster, the Texans have really increased their threat from the air. Not to mention, the Texans long forgotten secret weapon, TE Bennie Joppru.
Joppru was drafted by the Texans in the 2nd round of the 2003 Draft. Since that time, however, he has been injured with a recurring groin injury that first occurred during his first training camp with the Texans. The injury was re-aggravated during a mini-camp before the 2004 season Joppru ended up on the injured reserved list. Then, in 2005, Joppru tore his ACL which sidelined him again for yet another season.
Most Texans fans may have even forgotten Joppru since he first joined the team. But there are still Joppru fans lurking around message boards and internet forums that are holding their breaths with short reports coming out about his health and status. Even word about Joppru bowling with the team at the conclusion of the Texans last mini-camp are taken as signs that Joppru is back, or rather, here (finally).
There was an article written by Nick Shenck, the Texans Director of Media Products, which described Joppru's performance during the Texans OTAs in late May. Shenck says that Joppru looks as good as any other tight end on the team. He is running at full speed, catching passes, and doing what needs to be done in order to obtain the roster spot he desires.
As for his injury history, Joppru told Shenck "I really don't think about it once I'm out here. My knee feels good. My body gets tired. I haven't done this for a while. So it's catching up to me a little bit. I just have to battle through it and keep on moving."
Joppru did comment that he does get some good natured ribbing from his teammates. "They like to see me out there." Joppru said. "They give me a hard time every once in a while. Like, ‘What are you doing out here?' or ‘Quit holding.' Stuff like that."
You can be certain that there will be new Joppru fans in the seats this year, wondering the same thing. "What is he doing out here? He's been with the team for three years? How come we've never used him?" I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what Joppru and the rest of the tight ends and wide receivers are going to offer for the Texans redesigned offensive scheme.