Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Johnson, Dennis ‘DJ’ (RB)

sage12-dejohnsonCards: Sage 2013, Donruss Rated 2013
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Dennis Johnson was an undersized speedster out of Arkansas who was overshadowed much of his career by Knile Davis.  During his 5 years for the Razorbacks Johnson amassed a nice resume, rushing 345 times for 2036 yards and 13 TDs.  He also showed promise as a receiver coming out of the backfield contributing 63 receptions for 510 yards and 4 TDs, and contributed on special teams with 119 returns for 2784 yards and 3 TDs.   Many NFL teams pegged him as a 3rd down/ change of pace scat back.  Despite an impressive stat line, Johnson was not selected in 2013.  He’d sign as a free agent with the Houston Texans.

pa13-dejohnsonThe Texans were doing some reshuffling at runningback, and were looking for a change of pace back to compliment the running attack led by oft injured Arian Foster and Ben Tate. They signed Johnson, Cierre Wood, and Ray Graham. While Johnson did have a nice preseason, including some sizzling plays, he also put the rock on the ground a few times. He’d be on the outside looking in during final cuts, but be picked up by the Browns.

The Texans in the meantime went through a disaster at runningback, as the team’s Super Bowl aspirations faded quickly out of the gate. With Foster and Tate both nursing injuries and Wood cut due to the Texans’ zero tolerance policy, Johnson was resigned by the Texans off the Browns practice squad. He’d start one game and rush for 183 yards in 8 contests.

With a new regime in town, Johnson was cut in August of 2014. He played for the the Brooklyn Bolts of the FXFL later that year, but as of 2017, he remains an NFL free agent.

DJ had some pretty nice looking cards available to me to choose from. I really liked his Sage entry. It was pretty awesome of him to pose for the photo jumping up in the air. It adds an entirely new level to what could’ve been an otherwise boring shot. The jersey material printed on the card is reminiscent of something I’d do to a custom, and it is executed well. DJ’s autograph on the Sage canvas is unique and interesting to look at.

The idea of a jersey card is neat and all, especially when it is a jumbo swatch, but it becomes quite tricky to build a satisfying composition for the rest of the assets when it takes up so much space. Case in point this Donruss Rated rookie card. The patch takes up so much space we’re left with a discombobulated and disconnected DJ barely poking out from the right side of the card.  The autograph isn’t even completely framed up on the card, and either goes underneath the card material or is incomplete.

Drummond, Kurtis ‘The Matrix’


C
ard: Panini Contenders 2015
Acquired: 2016, Ebay

Kurtis Drummond played free safety for the Michigan State Spartans. He earned the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and was named as a 3rd team All-American in 2014 when he posted 72 tackles, 15 passes defended,  and 4 picks as a senior.  With NFL caliber speed and some tools to work with especially his vertical jump, Kurtis was truly an enigma to scouts who couldn’t come to a consensus Drummond’s shortcomings. A true student of the game at MSU, Drummond was nicknamed ‘The Matrix’ by Spartans’ DB coach Harlon Barnett, for Kurtis’ ability to quickly assimilate game film and apply it on the field.

Initially projected to go in round 4, Kurtis landed with the Houston Texans in free agency instead.  It was probably best for Kurtis as the Texans have a knack for patiently developing defensive backfield talent (AJ Bouye, Andre Hal).  Drummond did see some playing time on the field in 2015 on special teams recording 4 tackles and a forced fumble. He’d be shelved on IR for the entirety of the 2016 campaign.

Entering the 2017 season, Kurtis is ranked 3rd on the Texans depth chart for playing time behind Andre Hal and Corey Moore at free safety.

Welker, Wes ‘The Natural’

Card: Score 2009
Acquired: TTM 2016, C/o Home
Sent:  5/23    Received:   6/4     (12 days)

Wes Welker was a prolific slot man that played in the NFL from 2004-2015. Going undrafted out of Texas Tech in 2004, Welker had developed quite a reputation as a stellar return man and do-it-all offensive weapon for the Red Raiders, tying an NCAA record with 8 punt returns for touchdowns.

Welker signed with the San Diego Chargers, but was cut after the first game of the season to make room for another player. He’d catch on with the Dolphins who used him on kick and punt return duties. It’s there he’d burn the New England Patriots who took note of his unique skillset. As the anemic Dolphin offense continued to struggle, Welker went from being on the chopping block, to becoming the life blood of the offense. Opting not to resign Wes initially after the 2006 season, Welker became a restricted free agent.  That’s when the Patriots pounced.

Offering the required 2nd round tender, New England stripped their bitter rival of their best offensive weapon. Wes went on to become quarterback Tom Brady’s most reliable target. Over the next 6 seasons, Wes racked up 672 receptions for 7459 yards and 37 touchdowns- including a 99 yarder. In 5 of those seasons he had 110+ receptions, leading the league three times in 2007 (112), 2009 (123), and 2011 (122).  From 2008-2012 Welker earned ProBowl honors, with his 2009 and 2011 seasons earning him All Pro.

Facing a quandary after the 2013 season, the Patriots were unable to come to terms with Welker to keep him in New England. To top things off, he signed with the newly retooled Denver Broncos to be Peyton Manning‘s go to guy, but Wes got the concussion bug.

You see the NFL had decided to finally take a more aggressive stance on the issue, and Welker’s size and fearlessness in the slot lent him to take shots regularly to the head. He’d play the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Broncos and a final swan song for the St. Louis Rams in 2015. Although he didn’t want to retire, most teams saw his injury proneness as a liability, so in a sense Wes was forced to retire.

In 2017, Welker returned to the NFL scene. He was quickly courted by the Houston Texans during the Senior Bowl in Mobile and named as an offensive assistant where he is reunited with his former coach Bill O’Brien and a host of other former Patriots. It is thought that at this time he will provide assistance coaching the Texans’ wide receiver corps and break down film.

When I saw that Wes Welker was signing via a few websites I follow that track autograph returns from players, I didn’t hesitate at quickly sending him out two of my favorite cards- Score 2009, and Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 Gold. Now,  I did only get the Score 2009 back and Wes personalized it, but I always point out that personalization doesn’t bother me, and that I am happy getting one rather than none. Maybe he really liked that Donruss Rookies & Stars 2009 as much as I did!

G/GS 175/102    REC 903     YDS 9925    AVG 11.0    TD 50    LG 99T
KR  183     YDS 4138      AVG 22.6   TD 1   LG 95T
PR 264      YDS 2584      AVG 9.8       TD 0   LG 71