Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Fiedorowicz, CJ

Cards: Topps Chrome 2014, Topps Chrome Mini 2014
Acquired: 2016, EBay

CJ Fiedorowicz is a perfect example of sniping talent off of EBay. Before the 2016 season, CJ was relegated to only being known as a solid run blocker- not the sort of things fans go crazy for in an autograph from a tight end, so prices were pretty cheap on this Houston Texans prospect.  With the arrival of Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback in Houston (for better or worse,) CJ saw an immediate boost to his bottom line, becoming Os’ bread and butter. The Texans TE’s as a group went from almost dead last to second in the NFL in targets.  In 2016 CJ set career highs across the board as an up and coming player in the league. (One would think that Houston’s offense should feature the tight end to some degree, being that Bill O’Brien’s system is based on the multiple system he ran in New England.) Nonetheless, Fiedorowicz finished 2016 with 54 receptions for 559 yards and 4 TDs.  Now his autographed cards have jumped 5-6 dollars each in resale on EBay- not that I care about reselling them.

CJ had a pretty slow start to his NFL career. A third round choice of the Houston Texans in 2014 out of Iowa, the Texans loved his overall size (6’5″, 265) and thought that he could transition to the pro level at least as a inline blocker behind Garrett Graham. While his rookie season left much to be desired, Fiedorowicz scored his first NFL touchdown in a Week 14 25-13 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He continued a slow but steady improvement in 2015 catching 17 passes. He had a  breakout season in 2016 as Brock Osweiler’s safety blanket catching 54 passes for 559 yards and 4 TDs, but a severe concussion that he suffered in 2017 drug down severely on his stats.

 

Holland, Johnny ‘Mr. Everywhere’

Cards: ProSet 1990, Topps 1990, Action Packed 1990, Topps Stadium Club 1992
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o The Cleveland Browns
Sent:  11/28/16   Received:  1/6/17     (39 days)

Johnny Holland was one of the galvanizing forces behind the ‘Wrecking Crew’ of the Texas A&M defense during the dying days of the Southwest Conference of the mid to late 80s.  At the time of his graduation from A&M he was the school’s all-time leading tackler and garnered Johnny the nickname ‘Mr. Everywhere’.

In 1987, the Green Bay Packers selected Johnny with their second round pick of the draft.  The ’87 draft has an impressive pedigree of linebacker talent that included: Cornelius Bennett, Shane Conlan, Brian Bosworth (SUP), Dave Wyman, Winston Moss, Michael Brooks, Scott Stephen, Byron Evans, Hardy Nickerson, Al Smith, Dennis Gibson, Greg Lloyd, and Jessie Tuggle (UDFA). Johnny fit right in, and the Packers were glad to have him, as he’d earn team rookie of the year honors from the franchise.  Johnny was a smart, instinctual, consistent, and reliable force for the Packers over the next 6 seasons- prized traits for linebackers. Although not flashy, Holland could be counted on by the Pack to post 100+ tackle seasons with regularity. During the 1992 season he herniated a disc in his neck. He rehabbed from the injury and returned to form in 1993 recording a career high 145 tackles, but learned that he had blown a disc in his back during the season. Johnny opted to retire.

He jumped almost right into coaching from there in 1995, first with the Packers until 1999. Holland served in a variety of capacities from Special Teams to Linebackers to quality control.  He then spent the next 3 seasons with the Seahawks as an assistant conditioning coach, special teams, and linebackers coach. From 2003 to 2005 Johnny was an assistant defensive coach and Linebackers coach with the Lions before his longest stint with the Houston Texans (2006-2010) as their linebackers coach.  He’d coach for the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL in 2011, and then after serving 1 season as the LB coach of the Oakland Raiders (2012), Johnny took a dip in the pool of the CFL with the British Columbia Lions LB corps (2014-2015).  He coached the ILB crew of the Browns for 2016, and as of 2017 is with the 49ers in a similar capacity.

Beloved by the Packers’ faithful, Johnny was inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame in 2001.  He also has been honored by both Texas A&M (1993) and the Cotton Bowl (2000) for his contributions to the sport.

Johnny is a very good signer through the mail. He signed these 4 cards for me via the Browns back in 2016. Johnny’s Proset 1990 card is a beast and his Stadium Club entry does not disappoint either.  The other two entries are kinda bad. Action Packed gives an entry of him from behind. That’s not what  you want to see, however I selected it because I got so many duplicates of this card when I used to get them at the 7-11 I might as well get it signed too. Topps 1990 suffered from a lot of bad things. Bad design and lazy photography riddled the set. Still it was a foundation of my set collecting of my childhood and sometimes the portrait photos of the players just stick with me, like this one of Johnny.

G/GS  103/100    TAC 777     SAC  3.5      FUM  15
INT  9     YDS  130      AVG  14.4      TD  0      LG  32

Gaffney, Jabar

Card: SPX 2002 Rated Rookies (229/650)
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Failure: 2011, C/o The Washington Redskins

Jabar Gaffney was a talent who left it all on the field for the Florida Gators back in 2000 and 2001. In both years he had almost 1200 yards and over 10 TDs receiving.  He declared for the 2002 NFL draft and was selected at the top of round 2 by the Houston Texans expansion squad. It was expected that Gaffney would become young quarterback David Carr‘s preferred target as they’d grow together as an up and coming talent. Among receivers looking back, his selection was a fair one. He’d finish 2nd in total WR yardage in an otherwise lackluster class.

Jabar caught only 1 TD  his rookie season, in a week 6 snoozer against the Buffalo Bills. The following week he’d record his first and only professional TD throw against the Cleveland Browns. In total that rookie year, Jabar had 483 yards on 41 catches.  Later in 2004 Gaffney had his best season as a Texan with 632 yards on 41 receptions.  In 2005, the Texans experimented with utilizing Gaffney as more of an inline receiver. He’d make 55 receptions, but as David Carr regressed, so did the Texans record.  The entire team from the front office down was fired and a new regime was brought in.  Jabar was a free agent.

Gaffney found a home with the Philadelphia Eagles, but was a surprise cut before the beginning of the season.
He’d then sign with New England where he’d play for the Patriots over the next 3 seasons. In 2007 he’d have a career high 5 TD receptions.  Jabar then signed with the Denver Broncos in 2009. In two seasons with the franchise he’d post near career highs in receptions (54, 65) and yards (732, 875). He’d be headhunted by the Redskins for 2011, again posting career highs in receptions (68) and yards (947) and tied his career high with 5 TDs.  Jabar returned to the Patriots, but was cut shortly there after.  He later signed with the Dolphins, but ran into legal trouble.  Miami cut him and Gaffney was unable to resuscitate his career.

In 2016 he was arrested in Jacksonville for marijuana. Gaffney has attempted to remain low key otherwise, despite some run ins with the law.

G/Gs 158/103     Rec 447    Yds 5690    Avg 12.7    Td 24   Lg 69