Byrne ready for extended playing time

Byrne ready for extended playing time
November 15, 2013, 8:00 am
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(USA Today Images)

Rookie Jake Byrne knew the reputation the Texans’ offense had built. The undrafted free agent from Wisconsin knew the Texans use their tight ends quite a bit.

That’s why he was so excited to come to Houston during this past offseason.

“When I got the call, I knew it was a great opportunity for a tight end,” Byrne said of playing with the Texans. “You just work everyday to get a chance to play and now that that’s come around, you just have to make the best opportunity.”

And he'll get a great opportunity on Sunday. Byrne was signed to be the team’s third tight end after Owen Daniels broke his fibula but with Ryan Griffin out of Sunday’s game because of a concussion, Byrne is ready to take over the second tight end role.

And as the 23-year-old moves up on the depth chart this week, he doesn’t expect the offense, which utilizes many two-tight end sets, to change very much.

“No,” he said. “Every day we work to be able to replace the guys at the last minute and the thing that happened to Griffin, it’s unfortunate but he’ll be able to go in the next couple weeks and the next guy has to step in.”

Byrne played for the Wisconsin Badgers in college, just like normal starter Daniels and backup Garrett Graham. Griffin is the oddball; he played at UConn.

The backup tight end is very important on the Texans because the team likes to use two tight ends on the field often. Sometimes the team even uses three at once. That was another reason Byrne was very excited when the Texans scooped him off the Chargers’ practice squad about a month ago.

“It’s great because they do so much to utilize each guy and to get as many tight ends into the game as they can,” he said, “and to be the part of the offense that they are, so it’s just a great opportunity for any tight end to be a part of this offense.”

Daniels is expecting to be back in a few weeks off the IR with designation to return and the team expects Griffin to be back from his concussion soon. Byrne knows opportunities in the NFL don’t come often and he said he’s trying to learn as much from the other tight ends as possible and hopes to become as complete a tight end as possible.

“Yeah, when I was here,” he said, “I loved it and the chance to come back and be able to play with the group of guys you become friends with, it’s great to be back and be a part of the team.”

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