For the first two preseason games, Shane Lechler was limited to holding. The Texans signed the former Oakland punter in the offseason, but Lechler was used solely on field goal and extra point attempts as a holder against Minnesota and Miami. But when he punted Sunday afternoon, he was extremely effective.
On the Texans' opening drive he dropped a 44-yarder inside the New Orleans' 5-yard line, and Shiloh Keo downed it at the 2-yard line.
In the second quarter, he crushed a 60-yarder from Houston's 20-yard line. There was no gain on the return, and the Saints were penalized for an illegal block above the waist, which meant they started their drive on their own 10-yard line.
Despite the sterling performance, and his 13 years in the NFL, Lechler said he entered the game with a touch of nerves.
"That's part of it," Lechler said. "I think when that nervousness leaves, it's time to start playing."
The seven-time Pro Bowler said after the game that he thinks he's "ready" for the regular season, after missing the first two games with a soreness in his left leg, which is his plant leg. Getting back on the field for the first time as a professional in a uniform other than the silver and black of Oakland's, was a little odd.
"It did feel strange," Lechler said. "It's kind of been a learning process this whole time on how everything has felt from day one. I couldn't be more happy than being here right now."
Lechler doesn't know yet if he'll punt Thursday against Dallas, and said that's a decision for Gary Kubiak.