Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 4/16/12
With several players that contributed significantly over the past few years now gone, the Texans began their annual off-season training program Monday at Reliant Stadium. Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans and Eric Winston, among others have moved on to other teams and names like Daryl Sharpton, Rashad Butler and the newly acquired Bradie James will now move into primary roles. Williams, Ryans and Winston were all part of the Texans' 2006 draft class. With three other members of that class long gone (Charles Spencer, Wali Lundy and David Anderson), Owen Daniels remains as the only player from that draft still on the roster. "If you would have asked me, 'do you think you'll be the last one?' I would have said no way," Daniels said. "We were lucky to be able to play together as long as we did. You don't get that a lot, guys playing six years together and doing as much as we did to help a franchise. We had a good run but we're looking forward to some better years here." Cornerback Jonathan Joseph said turnover is part of the NFL and adjusting to it is important. "Each off-season looks different each and every year," Joseph said. "That's part of the adjustment you have to make on the run." The Texans' defense finished second in the NFL in yards per game allowed in 2011, Wade Phillips' first season as the coordinator. "Once they find out about you and figure you out, the next year you have to prove it over and over again," said Joseph. "It'll be an even bigger task proving that last year wasn't a fluke, it wasn't just a first time thing." At least this off-season players will all be taking part in the program together and at the team facilities. It wasn't the case last year due to the lock-out. Last year players organized their own work-outs but it was a challenge bringing the entire team together to the same facility repeatedly. "It feels great to get everyone going and into the off-season program," said quarterback Matt Schaub. "It's going to be great to develop that bond, that chemistry that we showed last year." While Schaub still cannot drop back to throw passes, he said he is confident his Lisfranc injury will be completely healthy by the start of training camp. One other notable missing piece from the 2012 playoff team is tight end Joel Dreessen, who signed with the Broncos as a free agent. Third -year player Garrett Graham is expected to take Dreessen's place as one of Schaub's targets. Graham said he's learned quite a bit from Dreessen and Daniels the past two years. "How to handle yourself as a pro, not only in practice but during the seasongetting in early, studying film and going out there and working," Graham said. "I've always had high standards for myself and put a lot of pressure on myself. I'm just going to go into it as I would normally and work as hard as I can." No NFL roster remains exactly the same from one year to the next. But the Texans made substantive changes this year for a team which reached the second round of the playoffs in 2011. Nevertheless, Daniels has no concerns the replacements will be more than adequate. "We've had coaches along the way that aren't here anymore, players along the way that aren't here anymore," said Daniels. "But that's just the nature of the beast, the way things go. I think we have a really good nucleus of guys, still."
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