How Houston Matches Up With Jacksonville: Post Free Agency

3 of 3

Special Teams

Dec 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans kicker
Dec 27, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Houston Texans kicker /

The Texans special teams are just okay. Nick Novak made 18/21 field goals last season after joining the Texans, making all field goals from inside 50 yards but only hitting 2/5 from 50 or beyond. He also missed two extra points, although with the 33 yard extra point that’s not as damning as it used to be. As for percentage, he was tied for 15th in the league at 85.7% field goals made. Shane Lechler still has a big leg, as he was fifth in the league with a 47.3 yard average per boot last year. However his touch has declined as he led the league with ten touchbacks and put just 24 of 95 punts inside the 20. His 38.8 net yards ranked 26th in the league, although that was partially due to opposing returns gaining over 10 yards per punt return, ninth most in the league.

The most famous punter in the league for the wrong reason, Bryan Anger, is no longer manning his post in Northern Florida. He moved on to Central Florida to play for the Buccaneers. In his stead, the Jaguars picked up Brad Nortman from the Panthers. He was picked in the third round by former GM Gene Smith, five spots ahead of Russell Wilson. Nortman averaged 45.4 yards per punt last season, 18th in the league. His 39.8 net was 17th in the league, but he only had five touchbacks and put 20 of 70 inside the 20. His return against was under eight on average. Jason Myers was up and down in his first season as a kicker, but at the end of the year he steadied out. He missed a field goal in the opener against the Panthers and missed two game winning field goals against the Colts within the first four games of the year. He only missed one more field goal the rest of the way. However, he missed seven extra points. Yes, you read that right.

Both teams were nothing special in kickoff returns last season, but Jacksonville had the highest average per punt return in the league. Nick Marshall, the former Auburn quarterback, and Rashad Greene are both dangerous return men. Keith Mumphery handled the bulk of returns last year and was not bad but also nothing to write home about.

Myers has a bigger leg than Novak, but is less accurate. The punters are almost a wash, although Lechler will be another year older and his skills will continue to decline. Finding a new punter is not far off for the Texans. Overall I’d take the Jaguars returners over those of the Texans, so in this category I give the edge to the Jaguars.