HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) — It’s been a low buzz throughout this Texans offseason, dating back to at least April now.
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz may be more than a pure run blocker following a slow start to his career catching the ball.
The trend has continued into the second week of Training Camp, and the 6-foot-5 Fiedorowicz was again solid in downfield passing work during Sunday morning’s practice session.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after practice that the third-year tight end out of Iowa may have needed longer to adjust in the passing game.
“It’s so much different running routes than it is in college,” O’Brien said. There’s a lot more man coverage… There are more guys comparable in size — not as big as C.J. but relatively close to him — guys you really have to run good routes against to get open in man-to-man coverage, and he’s made a lot of improvements there.”
Fiedorowicz said the speed of the NFL game can hit tight ends especially hard.
That’s why he has been a reliable blocker to date in his pro career, but the trust throwing to him across the middle wasn’t there.
“The game is so much faster and the linebackers are so much bigger,” he said. “The second you catch the ball, someone’s hitting you, trying to knock the ball loose.
“In college, where I went, we were more of a run offense and we always worked on the run game. But this year, since we’ve been back out here, I’m proud of my progress catching the ball.”
Route running and awareness across the middle are nice, but it ultimately comes down to the hands.
Fiedorowicz said catching passes is not as much of the offseason routine for tight ends as some might think. He emphasized it these past several months, using the work to double as developing a rapport with new quarterback Brock Osweiler.
“Guys will get all focused on working out, getting in shape and they don’t remember to catch balls every day,” Fiedorowicz said. “I’m seeing the ball well this camp, plus Brock and I have a good relationship.”