Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: RedskinsInsider and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS

Special Teams Look to Make Difference

In this week's installment of Special Teams Saturday with Lorenzo Alexander, we'll look at what needs to be done to get the kickoff and punt-return games going and examine whether the Redskins have an edge on teams over the Carolina Panthers.

Through the first four games, kickoff returner Rock Cartwright has averaged 23.9 yards on 10 returns with a long gain of 27 yards. Last season, Cartwright averaged 25.6 yards on 51 returns, including one of 87 yards.

Antwaan Randle El - the team's primary punt returner - is averaging 8.8 yards on four returns (he has six fair catches) with his longest return covering 15 yards. Although that's better than his 6.5-yard average last season, the Redskins hoped Randle El would have been much more productive in the first four games.

"I'm not happy with it," special teams coordinator Danny Smith said of the team's production on punt returns to this point. "But we'll stay the way we've been and keep mixing guys in."

Smith is considered one of the league's best special teams coaches, and Washington puts a big emphasis on teams, so why has the return game been mostly ineffective?

"We have our goals," Alexander said. "We try to get it down to the 30 on kickoff returns and double digits on punt returns. We've had some opportunities; we just haven't had the details. It's always, 'What if I would have done this, instead of doing this?' We just want to reach our goals and then break one if it happens to break."

Poor execution has been among the Redskins' biggest problems on offense and defense in their 2-2 start. And there have been issues on teams as well.

"We just need to be more consistent," Alexander said. "We'll have one guy who will block it [correctly] on this play, and one guy will miss it. Then he'll get his block and another guy will miss it. I don't think we've been consistent all the way across the board, and that's what it takes to break something on special teams.

"We're one of the top teams in the league in punt coverage and kickoff coverage. We still need to get our return game going. We need to get Rock going on kickoff returns, that's kind of lagging right now, and get El going on punt returns. We just have to get back to our standards."

The Panthers have two rookie returners. Captain Munnerlyn has a 10.4-yard average on punt returns and Mike Goodson averages 21.6 yards on kickoffs. "They've got some young returners back there, so special teams is a place where we can really try to make plays and get the game turned around," Alexander said. "I think this is an area where we can try to start out fast."

By Jason Reid  |  October 10, 2009; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Reid  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Golston Develops into Dependable Player
Next: Redskins Cut Wynn to Make Room for Punter

Comments

Lorenzo Alexander is a gift.

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

O.K....Da Mayor posted this half an hour ago, and the only lonely comment up here is still mine, p;osted 15 minutes ago. Perhaps "Special Teams Make a Difference" and "Lorenzo Alexander is a gift" are such non-controversial topics they don't warrant a response. Either that, or--dangerous portent for the rest of the season--the rest of Redskins Insider Nation has suddenly gotten a lfe.

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I meant to say "life" rather than "lfe."

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Been trying to get El going on punt returns for a WHILE now with no success. We need a lot more production there. Santana is the only guy on the roster that strikes fear in the other team and is a threat to go all the way. The coaches think that he is too valuable as a receiver to return punts full time. Can't count on any of the young guys, I'm sure that they would screw up. So we're stuck.

Posted by: VegasJim | October 10, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

More platitudes from the players/coaches and no insight in the article ... sorry Jason but your column has been very weak this year. No longer a must-read for this fan.

Posted by: chas2 | October 10, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the shoutout, Vegas. For a while, it looked like the Snytanic had sunk and Jason and I were the only survivors. You're right about ARE, and if the season goes totally south I suspect we'll see a lot of Devin Thomas in there.

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I just think Special Teams is the least of the Redskins' worries this weekend. It is good to have Lorenzo. He is a player.

Posted by: PASkinsFan1 | October 10, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Smith is considered one of the league's best special teams coaches"

Why?

Our punt-returner is a fair-catch specialist, and he's done nothing to change the situation.

Our punting and kicking games have been in disarray for years.

Our KR game is not explosive and scares nobody.

Can someone please tell me what Danny Smith has accomplished with this unit that merits such a high estimation of his work?

Posted by: p1funk | October 10, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

ARE stinks as a punt returner, the only good thing I can say about him is that he can catch the ball, other than that he's complete garbage as a returner.

Rock is average as a KR, he isn't explosive and can't make anybody miss, the only way he gets past the 30 is if someone on the other team is grossly out of their lane, or we block somebody in the back.

What's wrong with trying Devin Thomas or Anthony Aldridge back there on one of the other?

Why can't this team try someone new?

We use the same ole people.

SICKENING!

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Either that, or--dangerous portent for the rest of the season--the rest of Redskins Insider Nation has suddenly gotten a lfe.

Posted by: boothintexas
___________________________

Exactly.

I know the Lambs game confirmed for me what I saw in the Ginas game, that the Skins are going to have a horrible season, no possibility of playoffs contention... and at that point I knew I wouldn't be watching the games live anymore (just DVR and fast-fwd thru them when I get a chance in the evening) or spending too much time hoping for a turnaround or otherwise thinking (or blogging) about them... in other words getting a life. Thanks Danny & Vinny for instantly improving my productivity this Fall.

This season's over except for the drama & more incidents of FO idiocy, and then of course I'll watch with interest & hope the firings, hirings, free agency and draft (wishing for a new/better coach and GM, draft one of the top QB prospects, build a talented/tough O-line, etc). But I know the same result may instantly be apparent after only 2-3 games next September, especially if there's no change in the FO.

And the irony is that this is all so easy to correct.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the RI Hamsters need a consultant to provide an extra pair of fingers up here. It's not that our production isn't cutting it, it's just that we could use a little more help in being productive up here. What we need is a retired RI Hamster who now spends his days picking tiles at Scrabble Tournaments.

Posted by: PDiddy | October 10, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

F a Sally Jenkins.

Posted by: saltine182 | October 10, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way - and this management question is directed to Danny & Vinny (I know you read RI often) - even if you're stupid enough as CEO and GM to hire a consultant without [1] telling him what he'd be doing and [2] informing your coach in advance so he isn't surprised/humiliated, wouldn't you, at the very least, direct the consultant (and Zorn too) to assertively SAY, when asked by the media, (even if untrue) that he knows exactly what he was hired to do? I mean this is PR management 101, and for a marketing/PR specialist (remember how you made yourself a billionaire, D?) this is an astounding act of incompetence.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Good points, Chas. Wonder if there's a 12-step program for recovering 'Skins addicts? Or maybe we've all been working the program for the last 10 years. Now there's a redemptive way to consider the Danny--for those of us who need to recover our lives and get over being Redskins fanatics, Danny Snyder is the Higher Power.

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with trying Devin Thomas or Anthony Aldridge back there on one of the other?

Why can't this team try someone new?

We use the same ole people.

SICKENING!

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 1:50 PM

AA has trouble holding on to the ball and you're smart enough to know why #11 isn't trusted in that role.

Posted by: mack1 | October 10, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Really Dan, I think at this point the noble thing for you to consider is... Hara-Kiri.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Hello. My name is Lou Szovati and I am submitting my name to be entered in next years coaching/GM bid for the Washington Redskins. Here is my list of Top 10 Priorities:
10. I won't install any kind of special offensive 10,000 page "system" - I will recognize my players strenghts and use them to my advantage.
9. RB, Offensive Linemen & a dynamic WR/KR like Desean Jackson will be the main targets of nxt yrs draft.
8. All trophies, pennants & awards of the past will be taken down from corridors and hallways to remind the current team they haven't won anything.
7. Training camp will be extremely competetive & no player shall wear the redskins symbol on his helmet until he earns it & makes the team, not by name or salary.
6. Underproducing Dead weight shall be let go via trades/cuts: Mike Sellars, Clinton Portis, Randy Thomas, Phillip Daniels, Renaldo Wynn, Andre Carter & Carlos Rogers.
5. No free passes for missing practice or team related.
4. I will put the best players on the field based on their performance, dedication, heart & desire to win regardless of name & salary.
3. I will search and hire the best defensive co-ordinator with an aggressive, attacking style.
3. The offense will return to its past & glorious form of basic redskin old school football.
2. I won't ever be afraid to get into my players faces.
1. I will consistently remind my team of what it means to be a Washington Redskin and that we are the BEST team in football - no one beats us, especially in our own home.

Posted by: lszovati | October 10, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Chas...the other comments were helpful. Invitations to suicide are over the top. Okay?

Posted by: boothintexas | October 10, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't it PT Barnum who said, "A sucker is born every minute",?

Next week when the Redskins play Kansas City, the seats at FedEx field will be filled with, - what else: suckers.

Shame on Dan Snyder.

(Maybe he should try to purchase Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus since that's what he's turned this franchise into.) he's so adept at running one.)

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Hello. My name is Lou Szovati and I am submitting my name to be entered in next years coaching/GM bid for the Washington Redskins. Here is my list of Top 10 Priorities:
_______________

OK Lou, you'll get my vote on that platform, but only if you add - high on that list - replacing JC, including drafting one of the top-rated QB's in 2010 (not that he'll be ready to start).

Also I wouldn't necessarily cut Clinton Portis, Phillip Daniels & Carlos Rogers, unless I'd hired an upgrade first - they're all still quite good.

Also need to add a better PK, and target acquisitions at OLB and CB... but O-line and QB are first and first.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Mack1:

True AA has fumbling issues, but then why the hell would you bring him back? Not only bring him back but not use him? What's the point? (for what it's worth when resigned, AA said he was committed to holding on to the ball)

DT has his issues, but he is faster and more explosive than Rock. As it stands now, other than coverage, there is nothing special about our special teams.

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins. In the words of John Riggins... Loosen up a little, Sally baby.

Posted by: VegasJim | October 10, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"I wouldn't be watching the games live anymore..."

"This season's over except for the drama & more incidents of FO idiocy, and then of course I'll watch with interest & hope the firings, hirings, free agency and draft (wishing for a new/better coach and GM, draft one of the top QB prospects, build a talented/tough O-line, etc)."

So the team plays 16 regular season games and you won't watch them live, but you'll keep track of the ineptitude of the FO in the offseason?

The games are the only reason any of us are fans. That's where memories of games are created and connections with players are made. The games are the best part and the part that matters most.

The reason we are in this mess is the FO's insistence on being off-season champs.


Posted by: saltine182 | October 10, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't hate on Sally Jenkins, she is speaking the truth. Her last two columns have been the gospel truth. Some people just can't handle the truth.

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Chas...the other comments were helpful. Invitations to suicide are over the top. Okay?

Posted by: boothintexas
___________________________

You need to recognize humor. And in humor, nothing is over the top.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The games are the only reason any of us are fans. That's where memories of games are created and connections with players are made. The games are the best part and the part that matters most.

The reason we are in this mess is the FO's insistence on being off-season champs.

Posted by: saltine182
_________________________

Strange & drama-filled rant, missing the points made. Not interested in bickering with old crackers of low bandwidth.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see this article. After all, special teams was probably our biggest weakness in 2008, particularly in 3 areas: punting, punt returns, and long FGs. We finished well down in the NFL in all 3.

I was surprised Suisham was back for another year, given his record outside 40 yards. I mean, with an offense that struggles as much to score TDs as ours has, you'd think we'd value a few 45 yarders. But apparently the coaches felt he'd been reliable under pressure.

Four games is too small a sample -- 8 is a minimum, IMO -- but so far, we're ranking quite a bit above the full 2008 season. That 2 yard improvement in ARE's punt returns helps more than you'd think. Still, with that many fair catches, you'd expect to see Alridge at some point.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 10, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"Don't hate on Sally Jenkins, she is speaking the truth. Her last two columns have been the gospel truth. Some people just can't handle the truth.Posted by: 72Redskins"

I'm sure Sally speaks 'her' truth, but to me, it's just a highly refined form of team gossip. I'm sure it boosts readership, in the same way that Fox News boosts viewership by appealing to the lowest common denominator. But it's not sports reporting.

Posted by: Samson151 | October 10, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

F a Sally Jenkins.

yea with a 10 foot pole...

Posted by: jcnjcnj | October 10, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins does have a point here:

"One possible answer is they suffer from something called "toxic management." Denial and refusal to accept criticism are classic hallmarks of it, and so is shifting blame to others."



Arrogance is why the FO believes in its roster even when objective talent observers decry its composition.

Haughtiness is what will make someone like Vinny Cerrato believe that not one offensive linemen in the last draft deserved to be on the redskin's roster, but somehow Mike Williams does.

And now that the mis-matched pieces don't fit, Sherm Lewis is brought in to help make a quarterback they don't really want fit an offensive scheme the head coach seems not really able to implement.

72redskins is right.

Sally Jenkins is just spittin' the truth.

Posted by: MistaMoe | October 10, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

chasgiffen - I'll agree with u on some players not being cut...but i c Rb and O-lineman more important than qb right now. Here's my reasoning.....
Throughout our current history (80's on up for me) we really never needed a Peyton manning sitting back there -Theisman, Williams & Rypien were all effeicient QB's made great by stellar offensive lineman. As for our Rb's - take a look at denver - they are now, what we were then - how int the world is that team 4-0 with Kyle Orton?!? lol ...and able to install ANY rb an make him look really good? Also, Trent Dilfer was not a great QB, yet has a superbowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. Y? Great defense, effecient QB, power running...sounds a lot like our old squads again. we just need to get back to the basics. No matter how much we might be the underdog, we still need to be the ones attacking and taking no crap....regardless of our talent level. I will have them boys playing.

Posted by: lszovati | October 10, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I expect Suisham to miss a makeable kick Sunday because of a different holder.

Posted by: TheCork | October 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I like rock - El ok receiver

But what I love is Kool Aid. Teams playing well
D getting better with tryon, Orakpo, and D Hall, Reed coming on. JC just got to cut some turn overs and get Devin the ball some more. CP getting stronger. Right side of line solidifying.


Hahahahahahahahah

Why can't I stop?

Posted by: mul123 | October 10, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I thought that they were to cut some one to make room for the punter.Dose anyone have a clue to who that was ?

Posted by: joevick | October 10, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Mason? The don't have to cut them for real they just need to put then on the PS.

Posted by: mul123 | October 10, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I thought that they were to cut some one to make room for the punter.Dose anyone have a clue to who that was ?

Posted by: joevick | October 10, 2009 3:09 PM

Last mention of it was sometime today, no word yet though.

Posted by: saltine182 | October 10, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

joevick:

No one knows, I don't think. From redskins.com: "Jim Zorn said the decision on who is released will be made on Saturday."

Speculation has been on Mason or Aldridge, or that idiot Robert Henson, or some other guy whose name I can't remember.

Posted by: zornskins2 | October 10, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

How about some real news, like: what number will the new punter have? What are his favorite meals?

It seems like the choices are either this kind of non-reporting or the JLAC style bashing.

Posted by: zornskins2 | October 10, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Throughout our current history (80's on up for me) we really never needed a Peyton manning sitting back there -Theisman, Williams & Rypien were all effeicient QB's made great by stellar offensive lineman. As for our Rb's - take a look at denver - they are now, what we were then - how int the world is that team 4-0 with Kyle Orton?!? lol ...and able to install ANY rb an make him look really good? Also, Trent Dilfer was not a great QB, yet has a superbowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. Y? Great defense, effecient QB, power running...sounds a lot like our old squads again. we just need to get back to the basics.

Posted by: lszovati
_______________________

I absolutely agree with you Lou... a strong/deep O-line by itself can make everything work on O, even with mediocre skill players (including JC). And I know great/elite QB's are very hard to get. My philosophy (in short) is that I can always win consistently with great defense and a great O-line, and those are always my first 2 priorities/team-building requirements. But as long as I have a mediocre QB, I will want to - occasionally - keep taking big "swings" at landing an elite QB when one is available, as long as those swings (high draft picks) don't violate the top 2 prime directives.

I want to see the Redskins take a big swing this upcoming draft, because it's - allegedly - deep in top QB's, and I feel we can re-build the O-line at the same time, this offseason, both thru draft and FA.

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Mason is not going anywhere. He's been second string all week in Practice. I believe Marcus will have a nice game.

Posted by: thebanker21 | October 10, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins wrote just what I've been thinking the past couple of weeks. Snyder's problem is pathological.

The behavior can be changed, but it's not easy, and often it requires things getting so bad that the person is finally shaken out of the behavior.

Posted by: freakzilla | October 10, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Mack1:

True AA has fumbling issues, but then why the hell would you bring him back? Not only bring him back but not use him? What's the point? (for what it's worth when resigned, AA said he was committed to holding on to the ball)

DT has his issues, but he is faster and more explosive than Rock. As it stands now, other than coverage, there is nothing special about our special teams.

Posted by: 72Redskins | October 10, 2009 2:29 PM

'72 I hear ya. And I agree with you about AA. I'd love to see them actually use the guy on offense because he's he's the only back we've got with any speed. (Allegedly)

As for #11, I can't see it. He's done nothing on the field so far and his attitude sucks. Rock isn't spectacular but he's steady and dependable and to me at least those are two traits this team really needs.

Also, props for defending Sally Jenkins against these gigantic softies who can't handle a little honest criticism of our team.

Posted by: mack1 | October 10, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Renaldo Wynn was laid off today.

Posted by: will_ga | October 10, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Sally Jenkins is like old school Dave Kingman or Jack Clark. She whiffs a good bit and can look bad doing it but every now and then she can hammer the crap out of it.

Posted by: will_ga | October 10, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: chasgiffen | October 10, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"The games are the only reason any of us are fans. That's where memories of games are created and connections with players are made. The games are the best part and the part that matters most."

Wow. Clearly Cracker182 has not been watching games this season. Games are the best part? Of what, exactly? Certainly not the sport of football - the poor football playing in this season's Redskins games has been excruciating to watch.

The most entertaining part of the season so far has been waiting for media, fan, and franchise reaction to each game during the week. And THAT drama is only going to continue: Get booed at home for scoring 9 points against one of the worst teams in the league! Lose to a team that hasn't won since 2007! Outside bingo-calling consultant brought in without a clear (public) plan! Average primadonna running back challenged by his giant lead blocker to a locker room fight! Media shredding the franchise! Franchise-owned message board shredding the franchise!

Grab a cold one, sit back, and watch it burn. That's the only real entertainment we're going to get this year.

Posted by: hithere1 | October 10, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I did not read Sally Jenkins column, but I got a good synopsis of it from the Radio show the Fan.

It is a nice little analogy, but it is trash. Lavar Arrington, whom I am a huge fan of has been echoing the same type of garbage about Snyder.

Toxic management she says and Lavar says that Snyder sabotages everything that comes into Redskin Park.

And they both believe that this Team is doomed as long as Snyder is the Owner.

Well, I for one do not believe that. I also am a huge Dan Synder fan and Dan Synder will win a Super Bowl with these Washington Redskins.

All of you like Sally Jenkins and my boy Lavar that believe that the Redskins predicament is solely because of Synder are terribly just wrong.

Synder, I agree, has made some egregious mistakes, but a successful man like him whom earned his status and was not born with it will not fail as the Owner of this franchise.

Danny Synder is driven to succeed and he will succeed with these Washington Redskins.

I expect this Team to beat Carolina tomorrow, but if they don't and the Offense stinks up the joint, Danny Synder will be making some changes and rightfully, HE SHOULD.

LARRYINCLINTONMDDONETOLDYOUSO.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | October 10, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company