Jean ready to make plays if given chance

Jean ready to make plays if given chance
June 12, 2013, 1:30 pm
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Lestar Jean’s ready to take the next step in his career. He’s just hoping he gets the opportunity.

Last season, in his first real year in the NFL, Jean had six catches for 151 yards. He also caught the first touchdown pass of his career, a 54-yarder against Tennessee in December.

And Jean has been one of the players head coach Gary Kubiak said is standing out this offseason, through OTAs and the first two days of minicamp.

“Yeah, I’m definitely ready to contribute to the team and help the team win games because that’s what I’m here for, that’s why I get paid,” Jean said after practice on Wednesday. “Given with the right opportunity, I feel like I can help the team win games.”

And Jean had arguably the third-best regular season among Texans’ wide receivers last year, after Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter. DeVier Posey has six catches for 87 yards in the regular season and Keshawn Martin had 10 catches for 85 yards, a touchdown but also dropped five passes.

Posey did have one really good playoff game against the Patriots – he caught three passes for 47 yards, with an impressive touchdown catch, before he ruptured his Achilles. After the season, Kubiak was disappointed about the injury and said Posey could have challenged for the second wide receiver spot in 2013 with Kevin Walter gone.

Jean wasn’t talked about that way, though he played nearly 20 more snaps than Posey during the regular season.  

But so far this offseason, Jean, along with Martin, has been one of the most impressive players, according to Kubiak.

“(Jean) and Keshawn have had really good offseasons,” Kubiak said. “They’re pushing to play very quickly. Obviously, somebody’s gonna play across from Andre (Johnson) very quickly, that’s why we got DeAndre (Hopkins) and those two guys are pushing him. The key is having a good group and those guys are doing it.”

At times this offseason, when Johnson was given a chance to rest, Jean worked with the first team opposite Hopkins and performed well. The 6-3, 213-pound receiver has also looked very good in the team’s red zone offense.

The Texans selected Hopkins with the 27th overall pick in the draft, then took another receiver, Alan Bonner, in the sixth round. Jean said that didn’t bother him.

“It’s just competition,” Jean said. “This is a sport where you have to compete. I look at it as I just have to compete at another level.”

On Wednesday, while talking about linebacker Bryan Braman, Kubiak said one of the biggest reasons he coaches is to see guys come from “nowhere” and take advantage of opportunities. Kubiak mentioned Arian Foster, who was an undrafted free agent before the Texans brought him in and he’s become one of the best running backs in football.

Jean is one of those guys who came from “nowhere” too. He was undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2011 and had to wait until after the lockout ended to sign with the Texans. But in the 2011 preseason, Jean went down with a shoulder injury and was placed on IR before the regular season began.

“It was frustrating but God does everything for a reason,” Jean said. “I still have an opportunity this year to take my game to another level and help the team win so it’s just a blessing. God is good, so it’s just a blessing.”

Jean said that was the first major injury he had ever suffered. He’s grateful his NFL career didn’t end before it every really started.

“It’s always a good thing when the coach keeps you around after an injury because in this game, in this sport, when you get injured, it’s usually over for you, glad they gave me the opportunity.”

Jean was happy to play last season but wants to have a better one in 2013. He called his first-career touchdown catch “a dream come true” but doesn’t want it to be his last one. He’s been working hard to get comfortable with quarterback Matt Schaub and thinks the quarterback has become more comfortable with him.

He’s ready to have a good season. He’s ready to help the Texans win. He just thinks he needs the chance.

“I just feel like I can come in and make big plays,” he said. “I feel like that’s what I can do for this team, given the right opportunities. That’s what I feel like I can do.”

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