ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – **When Head Coach Gary Kubiak made the transition from the Houston Texans to the Denver Broncos, the results were nothing short of spectacular.
Tight end Garrett Graham hopes to replicate the same success.
"I'm extremely grateful to be here," said Graham during his first media appearance since signing with the Broncos in late April. "I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity and especially to come to an organization like this, a team like this. I've seen what that defense did last year—it's incredible. I'm just very happy to be a part of it."
The seventh-year tight end out of Wisconsin spent six years with the Houston Texans before signing with the Broncos this offseason. Graham racked up 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns during his 60 total games for the Texans, but he stumbled a bit last year as he recorded just four receptions for 30 yards in eight games.
For his first four seasons in Houston, Graham backed up Owen Daniels, who spent 2015 with the Broncos. Daniels, who caught two touchdowns in a 20-18 win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, was a starter throughout his time with the Broncos.
The 29-year-old Graham said he's learned a lot from the two-time Pro Bowler, who was released by the Broncos in March.
"I played with Owen at Wisconsin, too, and in Houston," Graham said. "That guy taught me practically everything I know, whether he was telling me or just watching him play. He's helped me out a ton—on and off the field. I owe him a lot. He's a good buddy of mine. I just saw him this past weekend. [He's a] great guy."
As he transitions from Houston to Denver, Graham has the advantage of joining an offense with which he has some familiarity. Kubiak, who coached the Texans from 2006-2013, has implemented a similar offense to the one he ran in Houston, Graham said.
"I'd say it's Kubiak's offense as I remember it for the most part," Graham said. "There are changes to things here and there, which is normal for being out of it for a few years. For the most part, I'd say it's Kube's offense."
Thus far, Graham seems to be adjusting nicely to the Broncos' system. TE Virgil Green said he hasn't seen Graham drop a pass since arriving in Denver and complimented the tight end's hands.
"It's been on air," said Graham in response to Green's comments, "so hopefully I'm not dropping too many. It's been good. I've had good chemistry with all quarterbacks. It seems like a great locker room and a great bunch of guys. Definitely a great tight end group we've got here. I've been off to a good start and these guys have been helping me out."
During his tune-up, Graham said he's been impressed by the other players in the tight end group. Green and Jeff Heuerman, who missed his rookie season with a torn ACL, will both figure to be forces in a talented position room.
"Seeing these guys here and how they work, their understanding of the offense, they're both (Green and Heuerman) willing to put the work in," Graham said. "They're in the weight room and they're there early. They're going over their stuff. They're getting extra passes on the field. They're watching film when they're supposed to. They're doing all the right things and being pros."
After a 2015 season in which Graham didn't see much time on the field, he's now aiming to get back into a rhythm. He said he's working on both blocking and receiving in order to contribute in a number of ways, including potentially at fullback.
"Right now, [I'm] just getting back into things," Graham said. "Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to try and do that."