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Keshawn Martin impresses veteran safety

Posted Jul 28, 2013

When asked which wide receiver had impressed him so far in training camp, safety Danieal Manning’s response was immediate.

When asked which wide receiver had impressed him so far in training camp, safety Danieal Manning’s response was immediate.

“Keshawn (Martin) is really is sticking out big time to me. He’s making plays, getting aggressive, attacking the ball. I mean, in just his route running, I think (it’s) paying off hanging out with Dre (Andre Johnson) a lot,” Manning said, referring to Martin’s relationship with Johnson. “He’s definitely making our DBs, everybody work a lot, making us better.”

Martin was appreciative of the eighth-year veteran’s praise.

“It’s definitely encouraging when any of these vets say something like that about you,” Martin said Sunday. “It just makes you want to work that much harder for them and for your team so that’s what I’m going to do. I just want to go out there and make plays, score touchdowns for these guys and not let them down.”

Martin, who finished with just 85 yards and one touchdown in his rookie season, knows what adjustments he needs to make heading into 2013.

“I want to be more consistent out there, just catching the ball, just being more consistent, making those plays,” said Martin. “Last year, I felt like I left a couple of the plays out there on the field. I just want to go out there and make as many plays as I can for the team.”

Martin looks up to six-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson, whose accomplished career and quiet disposition has earned him the respect of the entire locker room. The 23-year old Martin attributes watching the game play of the Texans’ all-time leading wideout as his inspiration.

“Andre, he’s a great player,” Martin said. “Every time he comes out on the field, I watch what he does and watch how he plays, especially on Sundays, seeing him work out there against those guys. He’s a great leader and a great role model out there for us.”

Martin’s regular season contribution was overshadowed by his role on special teams in 2012. He ranked fifth in the NFL among all punt returners with an average of 12.14 yards, setting an individual season record for the Texans and breaking the previous 2008 record of 12.06 yards held by Jacoby Jones.

In Sunday’s training camp practice, Martin participated in punt return drills in addition to his work with the offensive unit. This season, the second-year receiver hopes to continue his contribution with both kickoffs and punt returns.

“I did both of them in college so I’m pretty used to doing both,” he said. “They are both fun, especially when you take it all the way back. It really gets the team going and it could change the momentum of the game real quick.”

With DeVier Posey on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for now, the Texans are looking to see who can step up behind Johnson and first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans have been using him as a slot receiver, but Martin says he is comfortable in whatever role he is utilized, whether that is a deep threat or across the middle of the field.

“The main thing is just focus and confidence out there and trust in my teammates and my quarterback.”

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