Texans fifth-year receiver David Anderson used gibberish and zany impersonations as comedic relief during warmups at Tuesday’s organized team activities.
“Every day in practice is a grind, and a lot of guys go about it with their heads down,” Anderson said. “It shouldn’t be like that. Whatever I think the team needs to get the day going, that’s what I do.”
This time last year, Anderson was preparing the most elaborate joke of his career. When he showed up for training camp, he had intentionally shaved balding spots into his head to jokingly poke fun at quarterback Matt Schaub’s hair loss. This year, with a full head of hair, he said he’s cautious about pulling a similar stunt.
“I told my mom I’d go one full year with a normal haircut so I can attract a normal-looking girl,” Anderson said.
Fitting the bill
Despite the joking, Anderson and Schaub combined to improve their chemistry and timing last offseason.
“We worked on and off the field for a while and improved a lot of things,” Anderson said. “I think he looks to me in certain situations, and as a receiver, that’s exactly where you want to be with the quarterback.”
As a result, Anderson caught a career-high 38 passes, doubling his 2008 total. He started eight games last season after starting only one over his first three seasons. The bulk of his 370 yards came after tight end Owen Daniels suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“After we lost Owen, they started depending on me a lot more, especially on third downs,” Anderson said. “It was definitely very exciting to become a more integral part of the offense, and I had a lot of fun.”
With Daniels returning this season, Anderson said he’s prepared to contribute to the passing game wherever he’s needed.
“I’m going to keep running the same routes,” Anderson said. “We all know what Owen brings to the team, and when he comes back it’ll just give us more options.”
Leading by example
Anderson will continue to play at slot receiver. The Texans selected return specialist Trindon Holliday in the sixth round of April’s draft, and coach Gary Kubiak has said he would like to groom Holliday to play the slot as well.
Anderson has been giving Holliday pointers during OTAs and has provided leadership to other young receivers. It’s that approach to the game that Anderson attributes his 2009 improvement.
“A better knowledge of the offense gave me a better chance to succeed,” Anderson said. “That, and with another year under my belt, I have the opportunity to be a little more vocal with the team.”
Anderson said he enjoys his role as the team’s comic relief. His good-natured banter is intended to help the team’s morale much like his hard-nosed toughness on the field helps drive the passing game.
“Every time he has a chance to make a play, he makes it,” Kubiak said. “He’s always done his job, and that’s what we expect to see from him this season.”