Keshawn Martin returned 39 punts and 36 kickoffs. He was one of eight players league-wide who returned at least 20 punts and 20 kickoffs during last year's regular season. While he took that primary responsibility for the Houston Texans' returns last season, it isn't his job to lose right now.
Instead, the Texans are opening the competition to see what works.
"I feel like the coaches, they're going to pick who is best for the team; the only thing I can do is just compete out there and just have fun every day," Martin said today. "...You can't really get a good beat on it right now since we don't really have pads."
Martin averaged 26.3 yards per kickoff return and 8.8 yards per punt return last season.
"As the season went on I feel like I was making steps of getting better and making a couple plays," Martin said. "I would say more research and just knowing the other teams we were going against and just getting more confidence out there. Every time you go out there and catch a punt it's about confidence."
Coach Bill O'Brien said he's looking for consistency out of his returners.
"I’ve seen guys with different skill sets as far as how they catch the ball and judge the ball and things like that," O'Brien said. "What we’re all looking for there is a guy that can field the kick first of all, and then make a play with the ball. That is basically what we are looking for at that position.”
As for punt returning: “Just a consistent guy overall. Just a guy that makes good decisions of fielding the ball, when to fair catch and a productive guy. That is what we are looking for at that position."