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Game Prep: Special Teams Talk & The Road To Recovery

BY PAUL GALLANT, SportsRadio 610
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Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v New England Patriots
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Houston (CBS Houston) – The Texans practiced Friday before meeting with the media. Here’s the latest info from Reliant Stadium.

>>> WR Keshawn Martin will return kicks and punts to start the season. But if the Texans get a little healthier, Gary Kubiak has another kick returner in mind.

“I’d like to use Danieal (Manning),” said Kubiak. “Until Ed (Reed) gets healthy, I don’t think you’ll see Danieal back there, but you’ll definitely see him in the regular season.”

Manning returned kicks full time with the Chicago Bears for three seasons, and continued that with the Texans in early ’11. But after missing over a month (10/23 – 11/27) with a broken leg suffered intercepting a pass, Manning stopped returning kicks. At least in the regular season (he has just 1 return in the regular season since 10/16/11).

The playoffs? A different story. In 4 playoff games with the Texans, Manning has 10 returns for 396 yards – averaging 39.6 a run back. He’s shown he can provide a spark when needed. Expect Kubiak to use him in big games.

>>> Ideally, the Texans would start DeAndre Hopkins as their second wide receiver. But with Hopkins still getting up to speed after missing two weeks with a concussion, and DeVier Posey working his way back from a torn achilles, Gary Kubiak envisions a three man weave at the spot. Those two will rotate with Lestar Jean Monday night.

>>> Speaking of Posey, he’ll have a set play count against the Chargers, with many of his reps coming on special teams.

>>> Linebacker Daryl Sharpton is still going through the concussion protocol. And it doesn’t seem as if he’s made a lot of progress.

“He’s in the middle,” said head coach Gary Kubiak. “He’s not at the end yet, I can tell you that.”

Sharpton suffered the concussion week 3 of the preseason against the Saints.

Get in contact with Paul Gallant on Twitter – @PaulyGRadio – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.

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