Keshawn Martin is a capable return specialist. The Texans would rather use him more on offense than special teams, but after releasing Trindon Holliday a month ago, someone had to fill in. Having Martin probably made the team feel more comfortable with cutting Holliday loose.
But Holliday, as he showed in his 105-yard return for the Broncos on Sunday, has big play capabilities.
The 5-foot-5, 170-pound return man, while too small to play wide receiver consistently, shortens the field for his team. Holliday had 10 kick returns for 194 yards (19.4 average) and 16 punt returns for 147 yards (9.2 avg) in five games for the Texans, while the team ranked last in the league in yards per kickoff return. That's not how you keep a job that's not even close to being guaranteed to you.
With Martin replacing Holliday, punt returning has suffered. Save for a 19-yard return, Holliday was averaging just 2.3 yards per return in two games. While he still hasn't broken for a huge play, like Holliday's in the preseason and the most recent with Denver, Martin had the Texans in decent field position against the Bills.
Still, I think Texans were better on special teams with Holliday and the numbers just provided little context. Even though it was partly an issue of adding another linebacker to the active roster with Brian Cushing going down, was releasing Holliday a mistake?