The final installment of our position-by-position preview of the 2012 Texans provides a look at the special teams. Here’s what Texans special teams coordinator Joe Marciano, who has been with the team since its first season in 2002, has to say about the Texans’ projected starters at each position (Note: two punters are included because Brett Hartmann is suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy):
On K Randy Bullock: “Obviously, we thought a lot of Randy to draft him in the fifth round, and he’s proven through his time here in the offseason that he’s capable of kicking in this league. Very tough-minded. A lot of times, kickers have the ability but their mental makeup, one might be stronger than the other. I think he’s strong mentally, I think that’s important for his position – if he should miss a kick, to be tough enough to move on and have a short memory. He’s a good kickoff guy, and the fact that he’s from Houston is kind of lagniappe. That’s a little bit something extra because he wanted to be here, and we think he has a long career in the league. It’s an important job, and I think he’s up to the challenge.”
On P Brett Hartmann: “Brett missed some valuable time in the offseason because of his injury, but Brett has proven that he can play in this league from his rookie year. Last year, there were four rookie punters, and he was the best out of those four. He just needs time. He’s an outstanding kickoff guy. He’s athletic. He’s strong, and he’s young, and he’s a guy that has a lot of upside. As an undrafted free agent punter, to come in and do what he did last year without having the OTAs and having to break some bad habits and trying to train him to be an NFL punter, I think he still has upside. He’s the best kickoff guy I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around doing this a long time – 1986 was my first year in the NFL. I’ve never see a guy kick the ball through the uprights and hang the ball 4.6 seconds. I have never seen that.”
On P Donnie Jones: “Donnie brings a lot of experience. I remember studying Donnie out of LSU. I think I gave him a fifth-round grade. Has had a good career. Probably seen it all – different kind of conditions, game conditions, philosophies. What he also brings to the table, he’s also a good holder. He’s a really, really good holder, which is important, because we’ve got a young kicker and an experienced kicker, and he’d be good for the young kicker. But we’re going to do whatever Donnie does best. He’s a vet. He’s going to call the game, not me, because he’s the guy with the ball. So if he wants to hang that ball high down the middle, let’s go. If he hits it right or left, he can directional punt. He could hang the punt. We’re trying to teach him the Aussie punt inside the 10, kind of a knuckle ball to keep the ball out of the end zone, because he does have a strong leg and that Aussie punt, you can hit it hard and it just won’t travel as far, won’t go anywhere. He’s never done that, and he’s going to try to master that.”
On LS Jon Weeks: “Jon Weeks is a little jugs-gun machine. He’s been flawless since he’s been here. He’ll continue to be flawless. He’s a good worker, good guy. No one should know who our snapper is, because he’s never snapped one over the head or we couldn’t get a punt off or get a field goal off, so Jon does a good job. He’s just good. He’s good. When Donnie (Jones) got here, he couldn’t believe how good the snapper was here. Donnie’s been around a few snappers. He’s just mastered his craft.”
The position-by-position season preview articles and Coach’s Commentary quotes for each projected starter are featured in the 2012 Houston Texans Yearbook, which is on sale now at the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium and online at shop.houstontexans.com.
Tags: 2012 Texans Yearbook, Brett Hartmann, Coach's Commentary, Donnie Jones, Joe Marciano, Jon Weeks, Randy Bullock
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