Entering his third season and the hand picked tight end for Bill O’Brien’s offense, C.J. Fiedorowicz is fitting into his role with the Houston Texans. It has been a progression for Fiedorowicz and it has not been an easy road for the starting tight end. Dealing with injuries, mainly a knee issue over the past season, has made it more than a little difficult.
Fiedorowicz looks back on his rookie season and wishes he could have told himself what he knows now.
“Take care of your body, if you’re hurting, mentally it will mess with you on the field,” Fiedorowicz reflects. “Get in early and leave late and everything you do is about staying on top of your body.”
The NFL life is tough and learning how to live that life, along with learning the playbook, and trying to put it together on the field can slow some development of players. Players are not coming out of college polished like they did in years past. Fiedorowicz came out of a heavy run team in Iowa. They ran the ball around 70% of the time. That alone left a learning curve for him when he arrived to Houston but O’Brien is still confident that his tight end will have an even better year this year.
“Sometimes, it takes a while. It’s different running routes in professional football then it is in college. There’s a lot more matched coverage,” said O’Brien of Fiedorowicz. “There’s a lot more man coverage in professional football then there is in college.”
Fiedorowicz has noticed situations on the football field slowing down with his developing knowledge of the playbook and it is already paying off when he takes his snaps. On the opening run of the first preseason game, Fiedorowicz washed down the defensive end on a down block and opened up a lane for Lamar Miller for a nice gain. It was something he has not shown since arriving to the league and Fiedorowicz can feel the difference when he is on the field.
"Every year, it just slows down a little bit. The offense is very complex and there is a lot to learn. The running game, the passing game, the NFL period,“ explained Fiedorowicz. “I have to able to identify coverages, fronts, what kind of players you are playing against. There is just so much you need know that people don’t realize when they are watching the game.”
His improved preparation and extended knowledge of the playbook have helped the inline tight end take a good step in the right direction of his development. Knowing the possibilities of what opposing players can do has helped him become more efficient in his game.
Fiedorowicz will continue to be the inline tight end for the Texans and in his first preseason game of 2016, he showed some early flashes he did not show at all last season.
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