Nov 16, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Damaris Johnson (13) runs the ball during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Texans beat the Browns 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
In 2014 the special teams for the Houston Texans was just bad. As a team, Houston ran 6.1 yards per return while surrendering 12.4 yards per run back.
Kick returns saw similar struggles as Houston had an average of 21.1 yards while giving up 26 to their opponents. The Texans did manage to keep opponents from running either a kick or punt back for a touchdown, but they also were unable to score one of their own.
The tackling was poor and the blocking on returns was just as bad, so this is one area that has to see massive improvement from 2014.
Rookie Keith Mumphery was brought in as a receiver, but many see him potentially being a special teams ace. He won’t help by being a return man himself, but will help getting down the field in a hurry to stop opposing run backs.
Chris Polk is another player who can change the face of special teams for Houston. Polk averaged just under 31 yards on 11 kick returns last season while a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. While he now may be neeed more on offense, Polk offers a viable option in the return game.
Undrafted free agent Chandler Worthy is also a candidate to replace Keshawn Martin or Damaris Johnson, the main returners for coach O’Brien this past year. Worthy was a relative unknown coming out of Troy University, but has made his name known during training camp due to his blazing speed.
Look for other names to pop up in the return game as the team looks for the best option at each position, nothing will be handed to either Johnson or Martin in 2015. Also, the newfound depth at middle linebacker could pay huge dividends when defending the run backs by opponents.
Next: Someone else has to get to the quarterback