Tag Archives: Houston Texans

Davis (Williams), Domanick

to04 ddavisCards: Topps 2004, Playoff Absolute Memorabilia 2004
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Ah Dominick Davis… probably my favorite in the short Houston Texans Mt. Rushmore of runningbacks. He was the engine that made the Texans offense move during the early growing pains of the franchise.  Originally a 4th round pick out of LSU, Domanick burst onto the scene in 2003 with an impressive preseason debut that helped him make the squad. In the meantime the team muddled behind the uninspired rushing of free agent signee Stacey Mack and rookie Tony Hollings.  Davis was an afterthought intent on making an impression.  By week 7 the Texans had enough of the Mack-Hollings experience, and gave Davis a shot at the starting job in a week 6 tilt against the New York Jets. (Remembering his effort during the preseason that still stuck out in my mind, I quickly signed and started Domanick on my fantasy team.) The Texans lost, but Davis in his first game did not disappoint, rushing for 133 yards. He was not only the first runningback in the short 23 games of the franchise to rush for 100 yards and the single game rushing record, but also caught 9 passes for 70 yards to give him 199 for the game, a yards from scrimmage team record. 3 more times during his rookie season, Domanick rushed for over 100 yards which helped him rumble for 1031 yards and 8 TDs winning the 2003 Rookie of the Year Honors.

poff04mem-dodavis2004 was Davis’ watershed moment. He had a combined 1731 yards from scrimmage, posting career season highs in all rushing categories (302 carries, 1188 yards, 13 rushing TDs, and 68 receptions for 588 yards). During a week 14 contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Domanick again broke his single game rushing record (31 carries 158 yards).  The Texans were content rushing on the back of Davis to support their anemic QB play.  Behind him really was a who’s who of runningbacks and role players.  Davis was the darling of fantasy football- a 4 down back dynamo.

In 2005 Davis career came to a sudden end after 11 games. He rushed in 5 contests for 20 or more carries, including back to back 28 carry efforts in week 6 and 7.  In week 10 he almost eclipsed his single game rushing record with 155 yards on 29 carries against the Ravens. The following week against the Titans, Davis ran 22 times for 139 yards- in his final game.  I don’t think most people at the time knew it, (I mean I sure didn’t) but as Domanick left the field, it’d be the final time he’d suit up as a pro. The team in the meantime completely disintegrated finishing with a 2-14 record. The original coaching staff and front office would be dismissed after the season.

The Texans and Davis held out hope he’d return, if not sometime during 2006, for sure 2007.  He rehabbed and returned for 2006, but a ‘bone bruise’ in his knee aggravated during training camp caused him to be placed back on IR for all of 2006.

During this time period, Domanick changed his last name to Williams, more in line with his family’s name.  He also changed his number to 31 and got a new look to boot.  As Williams continued to rehab, rumors began to circulate that he’d never be able to play again. Eventually it came to light that if Williams was to continue playing football, he’d be running bone on bone- as the cartilage in his knee had nearly been destroyed.  As he was in a fair amount of pain and he could not pass his physical, he was cut by the Texans in 2007.

As of this post, Domanick is retired and living in Louisiana.  Recently I went ahead and acquired these two solid certified autographs of Davis/Williams for a cheap price through EBay. He popped up briefly and just long enough on Twitter for me to send him a copy of this really cool painting I did of Williams- some 10 years ago, but I wasn’t able to close a deal to get it signed. I’d love to see the Texans bring him back as an ambassador in the future which he sounded open to when I briefly talked to him, but he’s since disappeared again.  While Davis/Williams star burned briefly bright in the hearts and minds of Texans and fantasy football fans, he’s now relegated to being a footnote of firsts in the team’s record books.

G/GS 40/36     RUSH 770     YDS 3195     AVG 4.1     TD 23     LG 51T
REC 154    YDS 1276    AVG 8.3    TD 5    LG 38

 

 

 

 

 

Grimes, Jonathan

Card: TNT Texans Custom
Acquired: 2016, Houston Texans Academy Liberty White Stampede Tour

One of my old collecting friends from ‘back in the day’ of the Fanmail website was a broadcaster for the Old Dominion Monarchs team. Grimes was head and shoulders above the competition coming out of William & Mary and dominated the competition.  My friend told me that Jonathan Grimes was THE man, and was a solid free agent signee by the Texans.

Grimes made the roster in 2012, and toiled away on the team’s practice squad.  Other teams coveted him, and he did not stay on the PS for long with the Jets signing him and putting him to limited work as a 3rd down back. The Jets cut him in October of that season.

As the Texans descended into chaos, during Gary Kubiak‘s final season with injuries hitting the Texans’ RB corps of Arian Foster and Ben Tate, Grimes found himself back with the team and was elevated to play on special teams.  He’d eventually finish his whirlwind tour on the roster of the Jaguars by the end of the season.

Cut in August of 2013 by Jacksonville, Grimes returned to the Texans for the 3rd time after Ben Tate was placed on IR.  He scored his first professional TD against the Titans.  He’d finish the season with 73 yards on 23 carries and 6 receptions for 76 yards. Since that time, HC Bill O’Brien has found a way to keep Grimes on the roster.

In 2014, Jonathan ran for 153 yards on 39 carries as he began to settle in as a 3rd down/ change of pace runningback for the franchise.  As injuries finally caught up to Arian Foster in 2015, Grimes saw his workload increase. He put in a career high 282 yards on 56 carries, and 26 receptions for 173 yards, scoring a TD rushing and receiving in the same game.

Despite not playing as much in 2016 due to the signing of new bell cow back Lamar Miller, Grimes proved to be an invaluable change of pace back, pulling out some key first downs in some critical games. He rushed 23 times for 105 yards and caught 13 balls for 94 yards.

I created this card of Jonathan, knowing that he and DB Quentin Demps were going to be at a local Academy signing autographs. Jonathan really liked the card and was touched by my kind efforts. Afterwards I talked to one of the PR honchos for the Texans that also liked my work and gave me his business card, but I was really intimidated to contact him back- something that is still on my list.

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.