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Surprise! Joe Marciano's Texans Squad Still Ranks Near Bottom In NFL Special Teams

Through 8 weeks of the season, Battle Red Blog catches up with Joe Marciano's not-so-special teams unit. They surely can't be as bad as last year, right? (SPOILER: Yes, they can),

Keshawn Martin has done little to improve the team's poor special teams unity.
Keshawn Martin has done little to improve the team's poor special teams unity.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We're just about at the halfway point of the season, and there are plenty of reasons why the Houston Texans are sitting at 2-5 after the bye. Turnovers, lack of turnovers, lack of consistent pass rushing pressure, red zone inefficiencies... the list goes on. Today, I want to focus on special teams and the Perennial Pariah himself: Joe Marciano.

Back in February, I discussed Houston's field position ranking over the years using Football Outsiders' handy DVOA and LOS/DR metrics.  The numbers confirmed what we've known all along. So far this year, it's been more of the same. Check it out:

Houston Texans NFL and DVOA Rankings: Weeks 1-7

Performance NFL Rank DVOA% DVOA Rank
Field Goals 70.6% 30 -6.9 32
Net Punting

40.1 avg

25 -7.8 28
Punt Returns 4.8 avg 29 -4.4 27
Kick Coverage 26.1 avg 26 0.3 16
Kick Returns 25.5 avg 10 -2.4 27

Abysmal. No matter what kind of ranking system you use, the Houston Texans are fielding as bad a special teams unit as ever. Even Shane Lechler's iron leg isn't enough to help their net punting average, despite Lechler being stellar on just about every kick. Randy Bullock is dropping kickoffs deep into the end zone, but returners are fearlessly taking them out with positive results.

G Punts Yds AVG Lng In20 TB
2013 - Shane Lechler 7 32 1520 47.5 (5th) 61 17 (T-3rd) 3

Overall, Football Outsiders has the Texans' special teams unit with a -9.7% DVOA, which is 30th overall. Sounds about right, huh?

What's it gonna take, Kubiak? Mr. McNair? How about this Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts? Thankfully, the team thought ahead and signed Deji Karim so they could decipher Indy's complex return schemes. Karim took a return to the house against the Texans last year by zigging, zagging and befuddling all of his would-be tacklers. Check it out:

Check out Football Outsiders' full rankings here. Also, I ran into our old pal Rivers McCown while browsing through the site; he scowled at me and uttered, "The dead do not suffer the living to pass" and then unsheathed his sword.

I backed away slowly.

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