Texans' Griffin ready to start at TE Sunday

Texans' Griffin ready to start at TE Sunday
December 12, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Ryan Griffin says he's starting at TE for Texans

Rookie tight end Ryan Griffin said he will start for the injured Garrett Graham (hamstring) this week in Indianapolis.

“Yeah, I’m definitely ready and prepared for it,” Griffin said. “That’s why I came here so I can step in and be the starter if need be and both those guys are down this week and I just take it like I’ve taken it every week: prepare like I’m the starter and this week, I will be the starter.”

It won’t be Griffin’s first start – the Texans have opened in two-tight end sets before – but it would be his first time as the No. 1 guy without Graham or Owen Daniels (who is still on IR with designation to return). Graham hasn’t practiced all week and Daniels hasn’t returned to team practice since fracturing his leg.

If Graham is out, Griffin will be the only viable pass-catching tight end active. Jake Byrne is the third-stringer but when Griffin was out for the Raiders game, Byrne didn’t get in. Instead, the team opted to use an extra offensive tackle. Interim coach Wade Phillips said that’s a possibility this weekend too.

Aside from getting plenty of offensive reps while Daniels has been out, Griffin also plays on every single special teams unit. That might make for a busy day on Sunday.

“Definitely going to get an IV going before the game and eat my Wheaties, so I’ll be ready to go,” Griffin said.

Griffin, the sixth-round pick from UConn, has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2013 season. He’s one of just three remaining draft picks on the active roster. He came into the season behind Daniels and Graham but has been a consistent contributor.

“He’s done a really good job,” Phillips said. “He’s a really good pick for us, especially where he was picked. We’ve been able to utilize him in a lot of different ways, special teams and tight end. He’s made some big plays in ball games. His blocking’s pretty good. He’s a good young player for us.”