Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Wood, Cierre

Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay

Cierre Wood was a solid runningback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 2010-2013. In his Sophomore year he led the team with 603 yards on 119 carries, scoring 3 TDs. He also displayed nice hands out of the backfield with 20 receptions for 170 yards and 2 TDs. Cierre put together a solid Junior year, with 1,102 yards and 9 TDs on 217 carries. He returned for his Senior campaign in 2013 and posted 742 yards on 114 carries. Scouts were underwhelmed by Wood’s blocking, questioned his ball security, and were concerned about a suspension for breaking team rules during his Senior season. He went unselected during the 2013 NFL Draft.

Cierre signed with the Houston Texans for 2013. The Texans were in transition at runningback and beginning to seek a future heir for Arian Foster. With Foster oft-injured, Ben Tate locked into the second string job and the departure of Justin Forsett to greener pastures, it was a straight up battle between Dennis Johnson, Cierre Wood, and Ray Graham for the 3rd back spot. In the end Wood won out on the runningback derby.  The Texans kicked off the season 2-0, but then dropped the next 14 games. It was really a snakebitten squad. Injuries abound, quarterback issues, Kubiak having a heart attack during a game- it was just one thing after another. In the midst of the descent Cierre was released with two other players for violating unspecified team rules. He’d finish the season on the practice squad of the New England Patriots.

In 2014, Cierre spent some time on the rosters of both the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. He joined the Buffalo Bills in 2015 but blew out an ACL, ending his season.  Wood rehabbed and decided to give the CFL a shot, signing with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2017. In early May he was traded to the Montreal Alouettes but did not make the squad.

Panini’s Contenders set is always pretty solid. I found the split design of this particular card to be both daring and unique as there are very few column grid cards like this one. The photo is touched up well and it’s a solid action shot of Cierre. Even the typography of this card looks good, and there is plenty of space for the autograph.

Strong, Jaelen ‘Colt Killer’

Card: Panini Prestige 2015
Acquired: 2017, EBay

My friends and I liked to call Jaelen ‘Colt Killer’ because the only time that he seemed to show up was against the Indianapolis Colts- as he caught all 3 of his NFL TDs against them in 2 games. In fact his first TD grab was an improbable 42 yard Hail Mary. Oddly enough, he just failed to show up for almost any other game, and seemed to be regularly in Coach Bill O’Brien’s doghouse.

Jaelen certainly had potential. He had 2 stellar years under his belt from his time at Arizona State. While playing for the Sun Devils he posted back to back 1100+ yard, 75+ catch seasons. He was considered a raw talent, with an ideal frame, but with average speed. Some teams loved Jaelen. Others absolutely hated him. Projections were all over the board with the general consensus that he was a round 1-2 pick. In the end, the Houston Texans selected him during round 3.  Strong felt so slighted to be selected so late, he chose the number 11- because he was the 11th pick of the 3rd round, and he wanted to have a chip on his shoulder to motivate him.

Strong struggled with the rigors of NFL conditioning- showing up overweight to camp, and then an off the field issue didn’t help because the Texans are a zero tolerance franchise. He’d be released after the second game of the 2017 season. Jaelen latched on with division rival Jacksonville- but tweaked his hamstring and did not make a catch. He was cut in mid-November and after clearing waivers, joined their practice squad. Jaelen made his first start in Week 15 against San Fransisco. He’d record 3 catches for 36 yards and a TD, before tearing his ACL. Currently he’s a free agent.

Swearinger, DJ (2)

Card: Panini Contenders 2013
Acquired: 2017, EBay
See Also: DJ Swearinger

To say that DJ Swagg’s career went off the rails with the Texans would be an understatement.  After the tumultuous 2013 season, the Texans coaching staff was cleared out. In the meantime DJ started 12 games and contributed 2 interceptions, 6 pass deflections,  3 forced fumbles, a sack, and 52 tackles in 2014.

He’d be a surprising cut in 2015, and the Texans attempted to stay mum on the situation, but as these things go, somebody leaked to the media that Swagg refused to play special teams because of his lofty draft status (2nd round). Swagg was claimed by the Bucs for the season. He’d contribute in 7 games, forcing a fumble, and recording 8 tackles, before joining the Cardinals for 4 games.  Arizona liked what they saw, and employed DJ in almost every safety capacity they could use him in during 2016.  In 12 starts, he’d post 56 tackles, 2 sacks, 8 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions.  DJ signed a 3 year contract with the Washington Redskins in 2017 where he is expected to be their starting strong safety. He started all 16 games and posted his best year as a pro, lodging 79 tackles, .5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, and 4 interceptions for 32 yards. So far in 2018 he has put together a banner year for the Redskins improved defensive alignment balling out against the Giants recording 2 picks.

The 2013 Panini Contenders set had pretty solid, if not ordinary, design to it.  It’s purely designed in strong rectangles that break down the canvas into workable columns. The vertical autograph field is also somewhat unique. DJ’s autograph however, looks tired and sloppy on this card. The 2013 NFL draft was a terrible, terrible draft for the Texans of their 9 picks, only 3 players remain from that pool on the team.