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Sunday, January 13, 2013
On the Texans, Holliday and Jones

By Paul Kuharsky

It’s awfully easy to look at the plays made by Trindon Holliday and Jacoby Jones in Saturday’s great Baltimore Ravens-Denver Broncos game and say the Houston Texans blew it.

Holliday
Both those guys belonged to Houston. Both those guys were cut by the Texans.

Holliday was the first player in NFL history to return both a punt and a kick for touchdown in a playoff game. It was a spectacular performance and it had Twitter buzzing with talk that the Texans were fools for letting him go.

“Never cut a game changer,” said Tony Boselli, the former Jacksonville left tackle who now serves as a NFL color analyst on radio and TV broadcasts.

It’s a valid principle.

But it’s not like the Texans made a rash decision on Holliday. They were very patient with him, and while he had a big preseason in 2012, the overall picture he drew was of a guy who had a tendency to get hurt and to fumble.

The Texans wanted more roster flexibility and Holliday can’t do anything but return. In five games with Houston this year he averaged 9.2 yards on 16 punt returns and 19.4 yards on 10 kickoff returns. Rookie receiver Keshawn Martin, who replaced him, has better numbers.

After five games of his third year, they let him go.

It’s an easy second guess today. If the Texans cover punts and kicks the way the Ravens did yesterday, I bet Martin could score a couple TDs, too.

Jones
As for Jones, the All-Pro kick returner who ran under the 70-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco that forced overtime ...

He had become a liability in Houston. He couldn’t handle punts in last year’s divisional-round playoff loss in Baltimore, really damaging his team’s chances.

He never became a consistently reliable player for the Texans as a receiver or a returner, and it was completely reasonable for Houston to part ways with him and draft some receivers to develop in the roles Jones had. Martin and DeVier Posey haven’t done a great deal so far, but it doesn’t mean Houston made the wrong choice.

Sometimes a change of scenery changes things for a guy, and what he does in the second place wouldn’t have happened in the first.

Martin will get tackled quickly on a return today and people watching Texans-Patriots will say, “It sure would have been nice to have Trindon Holliday there.”

To which I’ll say it’s a super-easy second guess.

And if Holliday was there he would have been just as likely to cough it up or get crunched as he would have been to break off a touchdown return.