The MDC Memorial Blacklist: Week One (Texans v. Chargers)

That'll do, Bullock. That'll do. - Jeff Gross

This account of Joe Marciano's failures is dedicated to a once prolific writer who is gone but not forgotten...at least as long as his boycott remains in effect.

As some of you may have heard, after the end of last season one of our writers has pledged to boycott watching a single minute of our beloved Houston Texans as long as one Joseph Marciano remains employed the team as their special teams coach.

It was said in the heat of passion and was quickly called out by several other writers. Said boycotter has since held true to his word and not watch a minute of the Texans (so long as we can tell, anyway).

Some say that it's a pointless exercise, that it won't make a lick of difference in whether Marciano remains with the team, and that the only one that gets punished is the boycotter (e.g., missing Monday night's game against the Chargers).

Personally, I wholly approve of it. If you're going to undertake an insane boycott for the most petulant of reasons, I say "go for it." They do sometimes work, after all.

Also, I can kind of understand where he's coming from. I've been engaged in a long, drawn-out boycott for well over five years now. Has anything changed? Not in the least. Is it likely to change in the near future? Not even remotely, but at least I have the pride of knowing that somehow, someway, my impact is being felt, even if it doesn't make the slightest inkling of difference.

...I'm sorry I forgot what I was talking about.

Oh! Right! Because of this absurd boycott, and because I want this writer back as much as y'all do, I'm going to do my part to try and bring him back.

As long as our favorite special teams coach remains employed by the Texans, I will keep a list of how Marcy's special teams performed on a weekly basis. With any luck, Gary Kubiak will see the disastrous results at the end of the year when he's wandering around on the internet, and finally fire Joe Marciano.

If in the unlikely event there aren't any particularly horrendous special team blunders in a given week, we'll find someone who should be called to the carpet for poor play or really badly timed penalties, or whatever reason I feel like using.

It's a preposterous idea to be sure. But then again, so is boycotting the Texans.

This is the MDC Memorial Blacklist for Week One against the San Diego Chargers.

HOU Kickoff Return 1 (1st Quarter - 15:00 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball four yards into the end zone and returns it to the 15 yard line.
(Gain: 19 yards. Penalties: None)

Side Note: Keshawn, if you drop the ball in the end zone and manage to recover it, take the touchback. Any chance of making something of that play ended when you went butterfingers on the ball.

SD Extra Point Attempt 1 (1st Quarter - 14:45 mark)

Nick Novak kicks an extra point for the Chargers and the kick is good.
(Penalties: None)

Side Note: Dammit.

HOU Kickoff Return 2 (1st Quarter - 14:45 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball six yards into the end zone and returns it to the 40 yard line.
(Gain: 46 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: But then again, what do I know? He does the same thing and gets 40 yards out of it. I'm just surprised there wasn't a penalty called to bring it back, but I'm not complaining.

HOU Punt 1 (1st Quarter - 13:28 mark)

Shane Lechler punts from the Texans' 46 yard line. The punt is downed at the 6 for no return.
(Punt: 48 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Boy am I glad we have Lechler; I don't think I've ever been able to say that about any punter ever.

HOU Punt Return 1 (1st Quarter - 9:09 mark)

Mike Scifres punts from the Chargers' 25 and the ball goes out of bounds at the Texans' 29.
(Punt: 46 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: None.

HOU Extra Point Attempt 1 (1st Quarter - 3:16 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks an extra point for the Texans. the kick is good.
(Penalty: None)

Side Note: None.

HOU Kickoff 1 (1st Quarter - 3:16 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks the ball 73 yards. It lands 8 yards deep in the Chargers' end zone. Fozzy Whittaker downs the ball for a touchback.
(Net yards gained: 45. Penalty: None)

Side Note: More of a question. Would Keshawn Martin have tried returning that ball from so deep in the end zone? I'd like to believe he wouldn't.

SD Extra Point Attempt 2 (2nd Quarter - 12:30 mark)

Nick Novak kicks an extra point for the Chargers. The kick is good.
(Penalty: None)

Side Note: While there was no penalty on the play, a penalty was responsible for setting up the touchdown in the first place--a pass interference call on Brice McCain, who has decided he doesn't know if he's good or if he's terrible. Brice McCain, welcome to the blacklist.

HOU Punt Return 2 (2nd Quarter - 12:30 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball 2 yards into the end zone and takes it to the Texans' 16 yard line.
(Gain: 18 yards. Penalties: None)

Side Note: I can't entirely fault him for taking it here. From the shallow end of the end zone, I think that's a judgment call. Anything beyond that, however, you're probably better off just taking a knee. At least that's what Marcy's special teams coaching has taught me.

HOU Punt Return 3 (2nd Quarter - 6:50 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball at the Texans' 28, where he calls for a fair catch.
Gain: None. Penalty: None)

Side Note: No problem here, I'm just surprised we've gone more than a quarter without an idiotic special teams penalty.

HOU Field Goal Attempt 1 (2nd Quarter - 2:06 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts a 51 yard field goal and the ball goes wide left. No good.
(Penalty: None)

Side Note: (throws beer bottle across room).

SD Extra Point Attempt 3 (2nd Quarter - :26 mark)

Nick Novak kicks an extra point for the Chargers and the kick is good.
(Penalty: None)

Side Note: I need another beer.

HOU Kickoff Return 3 (2nd Quarter - :26 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball five yards deep in the Texans' end zone and takes a knee for a touchback.
(Gain: 25 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Well, there goes my theory of him trying to break every return for a TD. Maybe he saw something in those last ones that made him think he could return them. Or it was swamp gas. San Diego has swamps, right?

HOU Kickoff 2 (3rd Quarter - 15:00 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks the ball nine yards deep in the Chargers end zone. Fozzy Whittaker elects to take the touchback.
(Net gain: 45 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: None.

SD Extra Point Attempt 4 (3rd Quarter - 10:46 mark)

Nick Novak kicks an extra point for the Chargers and the kick is good.
(Penalties: None)

Side Note: Still no penalties. Are we sure that Kubiak didn't stuff Marcy into a broom closet or something?

HOU Kickoff Return 4 (3rd Quarter - 10:46 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball three yards deep in the Texans' endzone and returns it to the 30 yard line.
(Gain: 33 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: None.

HOU Extra Point Attempt 2 (3rd Quarter - 5:02 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts an extra point for the Texans and the kick is good.
(Penalties: None)

Side Note: None.

HOU Kickoff 3 (3rd Quarter - 5:02 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks the ball four yards deep into the Chargers' end zone. Fozzy Whittaker takes it to the Chargers' 38 yard line.
(Gain: 42 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: And we were doing so well earlier. This is actually the first kick that the Chargers have tried to return, and our typically hilarious special teams practically cut a corridor for him to run through until Brice McCain stops him. And no, Brice, this does not get you off the list. At least there's no additional yardage tacked on so...yay?

HOU Punt Return 4 (3rd Quarter - 3:44 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the ball and returns it to the 25 yard line.
(Gain: 7 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Meh.

HOU Field Goal Attempt 2 (4th Quarter - 14:52 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts a 37 yard field goal, which is good. But the kick is nullified by a penalty against San Diego, giving the Texans a fresh set of downs.
(Gain: First Down. Penalty: None...for Houston anyway)

Side Note: I fully expected this to be the first penalty for the Texans' special teams unit. Boy, was I glad to be wrong.

HOU Extra Point Attempt 3 (4th Quarter - 14:44 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts an extra point and the kick is good.
(Penalties: None)

HOU Kickoff 4 (4th Quarter - 14:44 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks the ball seven yards deep into the Chargers' end zone. Fozzy Whittaker takes the touchback.
Gain: 20 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: I feel so much better when the Chargers don't try to return the ball.

HOU Punt Return 5 (4th Quarter - 13:17 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the punt and takes the ball to the 27 yard line.
(Gain: 9 yards. Penalty: None)

Note: When he has returned the ball on punts, Keshawn has averaged close to 11 yards per return. Not exactly impressive. In fact, up to this point, if you include all punt and kick returns, Martin has averaged a little over 17 yards per attempt.

HOU Punt 2 (4th Quarter - 12:07 mark)

Texans fake a punt and use Shiloh Keo to get the first down.
(Gain: 8 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: I'm still not sure if I hallucinated that, and if so, which part was more surreal, that Kubiak faked a punt or that Shiloh Keo got the first down. Either way, this special teams ploy was enough to keep the drive going. Keo will not be making an appearance on the Blacklist...this week.

HOU Punt 3 (4th Quarter - 9:51 mark)

Lechler boots the ball to the Chargers' 8 yard line, where Eddie Royal runs the ball back to the 13 yard line.
(Gain: 53 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Leaving out the fake punt, this is only the second punt for the Texans in the entire game, and only three punts total for them in the entire game. I guess the strategy is to avoid having the special teams out at all costs.

HOU Extra Point Attempt 4 (4th Quarter - 9:30 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts an extra point and the kick is good.
(Penalty: None)

Side Note: This one ties up the game. Squee!

HOU Kickoff 5 (4th Quarter - 9:30 mark)

Randy Bullock kicks from the 50 due to an unnecessary roughness penalty against San Diego. The ball goes sailing out of the end zone for a touchback.
(Gain: 30 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Good, keep them off the field.

HOU Punt Return 6 (4th Quarter - 9:14 mark)

Keshawn Martin receives the punt at the 23 yard line and advances it to the 28 yard line.
(Gain: 5 yards. Penalty: None)

Side Note: Martin's now at 162 yards on 10 attempts, just over 16 yards per try. Ick.

HOU Punt 4 (4th Quarter - 5:46 mark)

Shane Lechler comes out and punts the ball to the San Diego 16 yard line. Eddie Royal calls for the fair catch.
(Gain: 29 yards. Penalty: None)

HOU Punt Return 7 (4th Quarter - 4:06 mark)

Mike Scifres punts the ball to the Texans' 39 yard line, where it is downed by Andrew Gachkar.
(Gain: None. Penalty: None)

Side Note: If you include this with Keshawn Martin's returns thus far, he's now at 14.7 yards per return.

HOU Field Goal Attempt 3 (4th Quarter - 0:05 mark)

Randy Bullock attempts a 41 yard field goal. The the kick is good, the game is over, and the Texans win.
(Penalty: None)

END GAME

Through the side notes, I mentioned that Keshawn Martin averaged 14.7 per return attempt. Excluding the fair catches and touchbacks, he actually fared better, averaging 19.4 yards per attempt (136 yards on 7 returns); better than his total average, but still a great deal of room for improvement.

And while there's not enough data to show how the Texans defend when someone tries to bring a punt out on them (since the Chargers only brought it out once the entire game), it's not exactly encouraging when that only return netted the Chargers their biggest gain on special teams the entire game.

What really stunned me was the complete absence of penalties on special teams throughout the game. Whether this was due to the fact that there were so many touchbacks or because Marcy fell asleep during the game or for other reasons remains unknown.

As for the initial members of the Blacklist (since there wasn't anybody particularly horrendous on special teams) please welcome this week:

Brice McCain - Reason: Terrible coverage and a serious boneheaded pass interference penalty that cost a touchdown.

Lestar Jean - Reason: Two holding penalties, which killed any momentum the Texans had in the two drives in which they occurred. How much longer will the Lestar Jean experiment continue?

Duane Brown - Reason: He was annihilated at the line consistently on Monday. I expect that to happen on the right side of the line, Duane. I expected better from a first team All-Pro player like Brown.

Marciano grade this week: B-

The return game was pretty hit or miss on Monday, and the averages show Keshawn Martin wasn't very impressive. But his special teams didn't register a single penalty the entire game, which I consider nothing short of miraculous.

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