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Monday Morning H-Back

Observations from another Redskins preseason flop:

1 - Joe Gibbs - The Freshmaker. Gotta give it to Joe. He always keeps ya guessing. A week after bringing a temper into his post-game press conference, Gibbs was tranquil as can be following the 41-0 debacle at New England Saturday night. I thought he might take a more docile approach like this - loving up the boys after beating them up; remaining calm when some would voice their obvious concerns - but he was downright chipper. Didn't quite bank on that.

Joe walked in nearly smiling, and immediately launched into platitudes about the Patriots. "The first thing for us to do is give a big thumbs up to New England," Gibbs said right off the bat, at which point he literally lifted a thumb and held it for a moment, like the money shot at the end of one of those legendary Mentos commercials. I was kind of floored. Gibbs never mentioned the word concerned once all night, played down any on-field issues, and preached team unity above all else. It reminded me of his tact last year when the team was 5-6 and on playoff life support. They rallied for five straight wins to reach the postseason for the first time since 1999, then won at Tampa in the wildcard.

This is what Joe does best - manage people, manage difficult situations, convey a massage. He should have more time than ever to work with all areas of coaches and players now that he's no longer running the daily operation of the offense, and it'll be put to use this week, I'm sure.

2 - What's with the defense? I know it's only preseason, but these guys usually play with an aggression and swagger that handcuffs the offense. Instead, they get are getting run over play after play. The Jets ran the ball right down the middle of the field with no-name backs. The Patriots made no attempts to disguise their intent on several drives - Tom Brady in the shotgun looking for TE Ben Watson over the middle - and no one made a play. Ever. The secondary seemed docile, even with its two hard hitting safeties, and I have a feeling how teams are going to attack if CB Shawn Springs misses any real time (I suspect he will). With defensive linemen Renaldo Wynn, Phillip Daniels and Cornelius Griffin all banged up, too, there was no pass rush. Still looking for my first real Andre Carter sighting. Dude is huge, and I know they're not scheming for him to get the QB, but still, I thought I might have seen one blow in the backfield by now.

3 - Is there anyone who thinks this team is set at punter and kicker? Anyone? Let's take a poll. Please, fill up these comments and I'll tally the results.

4 - The Danny's weekly pre-game inspection of the field always makes me laugh. He's the first one out of the tunnel, like 2 1/2 hours before game time, shades on, of course, with a posse of dudes in gray and black suits following behind, Cerrato almost always in the No. 2 car. The man is security obsessed and there's usually a force of like a half dozen operatives circling him. The field is empty, the stands are empty, yet there they all are, whether the National Security Threat Level is orange or green.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 28, 2006; 8:30 AM ET
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I went to the university of Wisconsin at the same time as John Hall. The guy could never kick the short field goal, he used to miss extra points. But the kid had a cannon for a leg and one game in Minnesota he kicked a 60 yarder I was there, I saw it, it was awesome! The Gopher fans around me couldn't believe it. Those days are over. He still can't kick the short field goal and he has zero distance left. It's time for the team to move on. As far as punter goes bring back Jeff Hayes. We are in big time trouble. At this stage in the game to find a quality Kicker and Punter is going to be very difficult. The Danny should fire up the jet and travel to the Land down under and find an Aussie rules stud.

Posted by: Tdogjuwan | August 28, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I think a Punt & Kick competition is in order. This is getting pretty ridiculous.

Posted by: btdome | August 28, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see Gibbs finally acknowledge that they might have a problem in the kicking game because for awhile it appeared that he, along with Danny Smith, were the only ones who didn't....

Hall is a waste of a roster spot at this point. Dude can't kick off and he is completely unreliable outside 40 yards when attempting field goals. I also can't think of any other team that punts more than we do between the 30 and 35... other teams trot their kicker out there to nail a 50 yarder... we settle for a punt.

Speaking of punting, I can't believe Frost isn't bagging groceries by now. It's one thing when we punt from the 33 yard line, but has this guy ever downed one inside the 10? It's like adding insult to injury. Every one of those punts sails into the end zone. He also lacks consisteny on other punts. A prime example is the 7 yarder that almost cost us the Tampa playoff game last year and the 20 yarder the other night. I also think he cost us the SD game last year with his 30-35 yard punts that cost us critical field position. Oh, and I forgot to mention that his kickoffs go to about the 15-20 yard line... sweet.

Posted by: John | August 28, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

What's Ola Kimrin up to these days?

Posted by: Joe in Raleigh | August 28, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time the 'Skins go the "Necessary Roughness" route and bring in Kathy Ireland to kick. Shoot, we already got our own version of Scott Bakula at the qb position taken care of. Now all we need is Robert Loggia as an assistant coach, Rob Schneider to take over for Larry Michael during the broadcasts, Larry Miller to play the crusty old dean, and Sinbad to come in as an O-Lineman

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | August 28, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to agree with John on all points. We need a kicker and a punter. Call up Martin Gramatica I hear he's looking for work. He's an upgrade to Hall. Bring back Andy Groom. Someone call 1-800 we need a kicker and punter hotline. Are there any former premier league players needing work?

By the way can we pick up a decent backup OL and CB.

Posted by: calebt17 | August 28, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I can't speak to the kicking situation, but I think we're just fine at punter. Also, do you think my buddy Ola will get released by the Dolphins or sent to NFL Europe? Ola was a great presence in the Redskins locker room, and as can be found on his website in reference to John Hall, Ola thinks, "I'm at least as good as he is."

Posted by: Derrick F. | August 28, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Chief Clancy, you get the comment of the day award. Great stuff. Ever think about ghost-writing a Redskins blog for me?

I would be very surprised if there is not a new punter out there hacking away with Frostie by the time we get out there to get a look-see at practice at 4:30. I'm thinking that the masses will finally be heard on this one. God knows I've asked enough questions about the kicker and punter the last 5 weeks.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 28, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Nick Novak!

Posted by: Testudo | August 28, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think we have a consensus on Nick Novak... he was a crowd favorite at Maryland, and boooed loudly when he missed too...

Posted by: Testudo | August 28, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

We should have never let Nick Novak go...

Posted by: Kevin | August 28, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Garo Yepremian anyone? Better yet, since the Skins have a penchant for picking up ex-Cowboys past their prime, how about giving Danny White a call to compete for the punter job?

Posted by: Jay | August 28, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Nick Novack the ugly guy with bad teeth who pontificates on Sunday morning teevee and prints state secrets like they were fortunes inside a cookie? I don't think that dude is the answer to the kicking woes.

I'm often wrong, but I'm never in doubt.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 28, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You know, Joe Theismann could punt.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 28, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

AGREED! I thought Novak was a good investment, now we have to sweat a field goal from any distance. Not what you want from a highly touted "offensively-minded" team. It makes you wonder why we are adressing a predominantly healthy, succesful backfield while the uprights will remain un-used. I am not saying that the duckett aquistition won't pan out, but what a ridiculous waste of a draft pick for ONE RB for ONE YEAR! and where are all the kickers? 32 professional teams and only a handful of standouts. you would think the nfl minimum salary would be enought to provide a glut of quality kickers in the league, but instead it is the exact opposite. The skins need one last addition to the team, and that man is none-other-than MARTIN GRAMATICA!!! (he's available)

Posted by: Jon | August 28, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

To reiterate several of the above posts, BRING BACK NICK NOVAK! The John Hall tenure can officially be put out to pasture like so many other lame horses. (and troll for any & all available punters -- isn't a 23 yard punt considered poor for jr. high football???)

Posted by: JohnRG3 | August 28, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Since the Skins don't value draft picks whatsoever, they should just use two high or middle rounders next year on kicker and punter.

Maybe we can package 2 or 3 picks to Denver for Jason Elam. More likely we'd get their 2nd string kicker, though. ANd we'd throw in an extra draft pick.

Posted by: Steve | August 28, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

get martin gramatica that was just cut by the pats, is a very good kicker and probably paid against gostkowski (the one the pats selected) just his age.
The guy is probably even cheap...

Posted by: biglio | August 28, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Isnt Martin "automatica" Grammitca available? or maybe one of his 3 or 4 little brothers?

Posted by: j | August 28, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that Martin Grammatica or Nick Novak will solve the Redskins' placekicking problem. They're serviceable kickers, but that's all. Perhaps we should have signed Vinatieri or Vanderjagt this offseason. We all remember how a messy kicker situation killed the Skins during the 2000 season, right?

Just what is The Danny looking for on the field before a game, anyway? Is there a more preening owner in the NFL than The Danny?

Posted by: Terry | August 28, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Nick Novak. The kid is so money and he doesn't even know it! As for a punter, can't we put Tom Tupa in one of those hyperbolic chambers for a few days? That would take care of our back up QB problem too.

Posted by: JG | August 28, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Is former Vikings kicker Paul Edinger still available? fire up Redskins One either way...we need a kicker stat

Posted by: Nathan | August 28, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a story about The Danny taking field goal kicks with Vinny performing the holding duties? I think I remember a story where CC's wife was laughing at him saying that if he was still the GM for the 'Skins that he'd have to be out there holding for The Danny.

Posted by: David | August 28, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Did the Zendejases cease reproduction?

Posted by: Ttlsccr | August 28, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I was going to mention that very same piece, re: Danny as Kicker. Extremely good article, and rather insightful if you picked up on the finer observations. Think the story was written while they were up in Carlisle, but I don't recall who wrote it.

Posted by: Thor | August 28, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse


Any knowledge of what happened to the rookie kicker the Redskins had in camp last year? Sadly, I can't remember the kid's name but, though he needed some polish, he seemed (to me at least) to have a cannon for a leg.

The Redskins could certainly use that. I'm not so worried about pinning an opponent inside the 10 as I am about having a punter that can't "flip the field" and give the defense some real estate to work with if the offense fails to move the ball on a possession. (Judging from what we've seen so far....)

At the outset of last season, I was thinking he and Nick Novak might be the Redskins kicking tandem for the next decade.

Speaking of Nick the Kick, it looks like he and Neil Rackers are locked in a good kicking battle in 'zona. Any sense of who's considered in the lead for that job?

Posted by: Tfirey | August 28, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

D'oh -- Andy Groom.

Good memory, Chief Clancy. Treat yourself to some Lard Lad for that!

Groom's in Rams' camp, kicking against Matt Turk.

Posted by: Tfirey | August 28, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Chief Wiggum, I think Rob Schneider should take over for Larry Michael, too. Sure, your comment was in jest, but if Schneider took Michael's job, at least a Redskins broadcast would be entertaining and professional. And I know how odd it sounds to juxtapose Schneider and professional in the same sentence. But considering Michael's the source, I think it's an apt description.

Posted by: Colin | August 28, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Why all the fuss about a field goal kicker, I thouht you needed a QB who could move the ball. If joe wont switch to the kid this year its just a wasted year,

Posted by: mrpjs | August 28, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's a local guy for punter: Brooks Barnard. He's a Maryland guy who played briefly for the Pats after he graduated. I once saw him kick a 75 yard punt, 55 of which was in the air. He was also fast and able to bench 400lb+, so if he was ever in a break out situation he could definitely make a play on the ball. I wonder what he's up to these days....

Posted by: MikeyB | August 28, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Correction: He was in Patriots training camp, but ended up with the Bears. Last team listed is Green Bay last year, but he didn't get in....

Posted by: MikeyB | August 28, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Andy Groom is still on the Rams roster and I'm sure they are not going to keep two punters (Matt Turk). Novak, Gramatica and Lohmiller (LOL, just kidding...kinda)

Posted by: C | August 28, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

just emailed Howard Bryant about Brooks Barnard. His kick was actually more like 85 yards, 65 of it in the air. He is currently with the Bears but with cuts coming tomorrow, he could quite possibly become available.

Whoever said Nick Novak is servicable and nothing more should go kill himself. He is the most clutch kicker in ACC history...just look at the stats. Routinely hit 55 yard kicks with 10 yards to spare over the goal post. If he gets cut by Arizona, we'd be fools not to sign him.

Someone needs to explain to me why frost and hall are still on the redskins roster.

Posted by: Btown | August 28, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This is probably the funniest discussion I have ever seen relating to football. Everyone is so worried about a kicker & a punter, the 2 most non-football positions next to the broadcaster. Even the guy who fills up the gatorade sweats more then these guys. I'm all for Kathy Ireland though! If the Skins don't release Hall & Frost, they might as well do a promotion and bring fans in because those guys wouldn't even make the Washington Sentinels! Although, maybe we can get a "wirey" kicker from the UK & find Shane Falco to boot! "Pain heals, Chicks dig scars... Glory lasts forever"

Posted by: Toochilled | August 28, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

We do need someone who can kick. Novak!
We also need someone who can throw the ball. How 'bout Randell-El. He can't be any worse than Brunell.
The pats...good qback w/ no name receivers. Skins ...great receivers with no one to get them the ball. Add it up.

Posted by: curbyou | August 28, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Man I think Ronaldinho could do a better job than Frosty!

Posted by: Moskins | August 28, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I think Ronaldinho could get pretty hang time by merely bouncing the ball off those teeth.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 28, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse


Is the team really in love with Danny Smith as the Special Teams coach. Can Snyder and Gibbs go out and get a Hall of Fame Special Teams coach from somewhere?

Posted by: calebt17 | August 28, 2006 9:35 PM | Report abuse

The only reason we fans no of Ola Kimrin, Nick Novak, or Antonio Brown is because of the touching stories written by Post writers. Then...two weeks later they get the pink slip. Jason, give us a tear-jerking story about Derrick Frost. Please!

Posted by: bangkokben | August 29, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I don't remember what the question was anymore, but if Grammatica is the answer maybe we should re-evaluate the virtues of the 2-point conversion? Or maybe the Skins should add the "what the hell, they won't expect us to go for it on 4th and 8" play.

Posted by: Jeromy in Paris | August 29, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone. Sorry about the late response.
Danny Smith is a very respected special teams coach. They made good strides last year but in the end it would be Gibbs's final call on a kicker or punter, and he seems to like these two for whatever reasons, at least than he likes most of what else is out there on the market.
Glad you guys remembered some of the stuff we did on Kimrin, Brown and Novak. Throw in Ethan Albright and I guess you could say I have a special teams specialist fetish. Those guys all make for good copy, though.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 29, 2006 8:15 PM | Report abuse

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