Conventional wisdom would have another wide receiver—namely Jacoby Jones—taking over as Matt Schaub's main passing target, with Andre Johnson set to miss three weeks of the season after undergoing a procedure to hasten the healing of a torn hamstring. However, it looks like tight end Owen Daniels will lead the team in targets in Johnson's absence.
The tight end was the primary target in Houston's Week 4 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, with seven balls thrown his way for five receptions, 69 yards and a touchdown. This is in contrast to Jones' zero grabs last week.
Jones is an unreliable player; he has difficultly evading coverage and has problems with dropping balls and not pulling down accurate passes. While he will get the start, this is only due to Johnson's injury.
Once Johnson returns, Jones will return to the bench. The same cannot be said for Daniels, who will remain a major part of the Texans' offense for the duration of the season.
Both Jones and fellow receiver Kevin Walter will see increased targets while Johnson recovers, but the bulk of the passing game will fall on Daniels' shoulders.
Looking at the statistics, it's clear that Daniels will be the main receiving threat for the team over the next three weeks. Through four games, Daniels has 14 receptions for 182 yards and three touchdowns. In contrast, Jones has seven receptions for 91 yards and no scores.
The Texans also have a dominant run game that they will likely lean on while Johnson is out, making Jones and Walter less relevant to the conversation than if Houston had a predominantly pass-focused offense. Schaub will lean on the reliable option when he drops back to pass, and that's Daniels, not Jones.