Move for Mason a smart one for Texans

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
11:16
PM ET
Derrick Mason is not much like Andre Johnson stylistically. But then how many receivers have Johnson’ts combination of precision, physicality and speed?

The Houston Texans new receiver’s game is based on precision and reliability. Mason will be at the right place at the right time, he’ll help move the chains and he’ll bounce up from a tackle after a conversion catch and let defenders know all about it.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Mason
Mitch Stringer/US PRESSWIRETexans' newly acquired receiver Derrick Mason (85) has 13 catches for 115 yards this season.
That the Texans dealt the Jets a conditional draft pick for the veteran receiver says something for Houston. John McClain of The Houston Chronicle and Mark Berman of Fox in Houston initially reported the trade. Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork reports the conditional pick is a seventh-rounder.

The Texans aren’t content to stand still heading into what could be two more games without Johnson, who’s recovering from a hamstring injury suffered Oct. 2 against the Steelers and a subsequent surgery.

Houston plays Sunday in Baltimore and Oct. 23 in Nashville against the Titans in a crucial AFC South game. Mason, who chose the Jets as a free agent during the offseason but quickly fell out of favor, should be able to help as a top-three option during those games. Beyond that I'd expect he'll be one of four in the rotation with Johnson, Walter and Jacoby Jones.

Coaches and quarterback Matt Schaub will work a crash course with Mason starting Wednesday.

Against the Ravens, he figures to play in at least some specific scenarios and/or packages. He certainly won’t struggle with the Baltimore coverages, as he played the past six seasons with the Ravens before he was released over the summer after the NFL lockout ended. As a member of the Jets, he caught two passes for 37 yards against the Ravens in Week 4.

In a stretch in which the Texans have temporarily lost Johnson and lost defensive end Mario Williams (pectoral tear) for the season while losing a game with a bad ending to the Oakland Raiders, the Texans have found some veteran help.

Mason can be a bit of a clubhouse lawyer -- and the suspicion is that's what prompted the Jets to give up on the relationship so quickly. But he will add some game-day swagger -- and even fury -- to the Texans. It's a team that will welcome more of those ingredients.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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