Shiloh Keo was named a captain during the middle of last season because of his exploits on the coverage units. On Saturday at Reliant Stadium verus Miami, he’ll add to his repertoire and return punts. Head coach Gary Kubiak said Keo will be the first to do so in the second preseason contest of 2013.
“He’s done it before,” head coach Gary Kubiak said on Thursday. “He showed some good signs of doing it, so we’ll give him a chance to help out a little bit more.”
Wide receiver Keshawn Martin was the main returner for the Texans in 2012, and ranked fifth in the NFL in average yards with 12.1 per punt return. He’ll still likely be the primary returner once the regular season begins, but Keo will get some reps there against the Dolphins.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to spark this team,” Keo said. “I was a big-time returner in college when I was at Idaho with the Vandals. I did pretty good there, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Keo, as Kubiak mentioned, has returned punts for the Texans in the past. Drafted in the 5th round in 2011, he fielded punts during the last two preseasons, and has one regular season punt return for 11 yards. That lone return was during a Week 17 loss at home to the Titans during the 2011 campaign.
At Idaho in a 2007 game against Northern Illinois, Keo took a punt back 100 yards for a score.
Last week against the Vikings, rookie Dennis Johnson three punt returns for an 11.3 yard average. He also had a fair catch. Martin’s lone opportunity for a punt return saw him fair-catch it as well.
In the absence of Ed Reed, Keo’s also seen time as a starting safety alongside Danieal Manning. In the eyes of his head coach, the third-year player has excelled in July and August this year.
“He’s having a really good camp,” Kubiak said. “Still a long way to go, but he’s a much better player than he has been the last couple of years.”