Found August 09, 2012 on
Fox Sports Houston:
HOUSTON The wailing is sure to continue while the concern, whether real or imagined, will linger regardless of what transpires on Saturday.
If Texans fans aren't fretting about the right side of the offensive line, their stomachs are churning over the perceived lack of receiver depth. The Texans feature an All-Pro with a litany of lower-extremity injuries (Andre Johnson), a respected glue guy more renowned for his blocking than his playmaking (Kevin Walter), and a collection of youngsters teeming with potential but lacking valuable NFL game experience.
The Texans won't answer every question on whether Lestar Jean, Keshawn Martin and DeVier Posey can become viable contributors to an otherwise exceptional offense when they face the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., but their performances will offer the first indication of the neophytes' capabilities beyond camp practices and in game situations.
"These guys are going to play well," Walter said. "These guys have gotten better every day; they know what to do. My advice to them is, You know what to do, go out there and play ball. Don't worry about anything. No one is going to be in your ear chirping. Go out there and play football.' These guys are going to rise to the occasion. I know that."
Some of that ascension has manifested in training camp, particularly from Martin, whose exploits in the return game while at Michigan State singularly warranted his selection in the fourth round (121st overall) in April's draft.
Instead of excelling on special teams, Martin has caught attention by catching the football, by getting in and out of breaks fluidly. Martin acknowledges his receiving skills with the Spartans weren't exemplary, but training camp afforded him a golden opportunity to reconstruct his player profile. In the Texans' desperate search for a third receiver to complement Johnson and Walter, Martin has been quickest to emerge.
"That's my position, that's what I play. I play receiver," Martin said. "I want to be considered as a receiver, not just as a guy that can do special teams. That's something I can do but I feel like I can be a good receiver.
"I feel like I've had a pretty good camp. I feel like I've proven to a couple guys that I can play. I feel like I'm ready to go on Saturday."
The risk with Posey, taken in the third round (68th overall), wasn't so much a lack of collegiate production but an accumulation of rust. He endured a 10-game suspension as a senior for off-field transgressions, a span of inactivity that shifted prior accomplishments to the back burner.
During his sophomore and junior seasons at Ohio State, Posey was exceptional: 113 receptions for 1,676 yards and 15 touchdowns over 26 consecutive starts. Such talent doesn't diminish, but downtime can dull the edges of proficiency. Much of what Posey has labored to accomplish in training camp is to reclaim what he lost while sidelined and mesh that ability with the professional approach required gain respect in the NFL.
"I'm always going to have my confidence no matter what," Posey said. "I know I'm a player. I can make big plays. I know I can help this team.
"It's just a learning curve I have to get and once I get that curve, once I know the offense like the back of my hand, all of my abilities will show. I'm just excited for the process and for understanding that things don't happen over a week or overnight. You've got to take your time and just get better as a player."
Like Martin, Posey has enjoyed marked progress since organized team activities, when Texans coach Gary Kubiak noted that both needed the reps to get up to speed and provide the team something substantive at a position of need. It requires both maturation and thick skin to take the abrasive coaching essential to correcting miscues borne of inexperience. Martin and Posey, as rookies, have been quick studies and strong willed.
Now comes the opportunity to showcase wares, to prove that progress is being made and that Texans fans should worry so much. If Martin, Posey and Jean account well for themselves, perhaps those with an emotional investment in the team can allay their fears and look forward to what could be the development of a prolific group of young receivers.
"I'm just excited to get out there and show the veterans and coaches that I know the game plan," Posey said. "That when we go against somebody else I know what to do.
"It's a game. It's for real. You want to be perfect in however you play. In practice you're out here trying to get better and it's really no different. But in a game that's where you execute."
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