AFC South All-22 Review: Texans' Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin Against Miami

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistSeptember 12, 2012

Jean will be a popular man if he can finish a few plays.
Jean will be a popular man if he can finish a few plays.Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

For weeks I've been tracking the progress of Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean, two young receivers for the Houston Texans who are vying for playing time.

The Texans dominated the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, but Marin and Jean were not heavy parts of the action. Each only saw 10 offensive snaps.

Despite the low usage, there's something to be gleaned from how the Texans plan on using both players.

Martin was only targeted one time. At the nine-minute, 49-second mark of the first quarter, Schaub threw incomplete to Martin, who was wide open. He dropped the pass.

While the result was unremarkable, the film shows how Matt Schaub tried to take advantage of Martin's outstanding open-field quickness.

As you can see in the still below, the corner lines up seven yards off of Martin. Martin pivots quickly to Schaub and looks for the ball. Unfortunately, he takes his eyes off the ball and drops the pass.

Despite the bad result, it's clear the Texans have thought enough of Martin's ability to design a read for Schaub and a route to make use of the former's unique skill. The continued concern with Martin is ball security. He fumbled twice against the Saints in the preseason and dropped his lone target in Week 1.

Martin was not the only wideout making his first NFL appearance. Jean got two looks from Schaub, both of which emphasized his size.

The play after Martin dropped his pass, Jean helped the Texans pick up a first down. Houston lined up with three receivers (trips) right. Out of the bunch, Jean ran straight for the sticks before turning toward the sideline.

On first look, it appears that Richard Marshall has good coverage on Jean. When you see the play from the other angle, however, you realize how Jean has completely screened the corner with his body. Notice the big target Jean makes for Schaub.

Despite excellent recognition by the defense, there's simply no way to defend this route when it's well run by a big, physical wideout.

Four plays later, we see Jean almost make the big play of the game. Schaub drops back to pass and sees single coverage on Jean. The safety is occupied by the target running up the seam. This gives Jean the isolation matchup.

Jean runs an outstanding route, and Schaub makes a perfect throw, dropping the ball in over the shoulder. Again, Jean's size is a factor, as he doesn't need much separation to give himself the advantage over the back.

Jean manages to tap both feet before falling out of bounds. Unfortunately, he fell on the ball, and it squirted free.

It's fair to give him a pass for not hanging on to the ball, though, obviously, finishing the catch would have been huge. His real mistake was not telling his coaches not to challenge the play. He knew he had released the ball and should have communicated not to challenge the play.

Neither player got much field time, and combined they didn't equal Kevin Walter's 49 snaps, but it bodes well that the Texans are finding ways not only to get Jean and Martin playing time, but to do it in ways that illustrate their abilities.