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The Durant Brooks Watch

Rookie punter Durant Brooks has been under fire much of the season for his erratic output, leaving him to think about having to fight to keep his job. After his struggles Sunday, his job security likely remains week-to-week.

Brooks, a sixth-round pick in April, has become more consistent holding for field goals, but too often lacks depth and hang time on his punts. Twice teams have returned punts for touchdowns against Washington, and both times Brooks was the primary culprit with short and low punts against elite return specialists (Reggie Bush of the Saints and DeSean Jacskson of the Eagles).

The Redskins rank last in the NFL in gross punting average, and next to last in net punting average. Needless to say, special teams coach Danny Smith is not pleased.

"We needed a lot on that punt [that was returned Sunday by Jackson]," Smith said. "We've got to punt the ball better, simple as that. Short punts with no hang time will get you killed, and that's what happened again. We've got to punt far better.

"He's a typical rookie. He does that and then comes back with a 49-yard punt with a 4.7 hang time and the guy fair-catches it at the 15-yard line. And really that's where our punting is right now, two great extremes on two back-to-back punts. That's a phase of the game we're going to have to fight through with him, I guess."

Smith said he is very pleased with kicker Shaun Suisham and his returners and special teams units, but continues to evaluate the punting game. Brooks has mused about punters coming in to compete for his job, and some on the team believe at some point back-up quarterback Todd Collins might be in line to work on handling holding duties at practice.

Coach Jim Zorn said he needs to see more from Brooks, but added that "we're not totally displeased with him," and that he's not "in such a hurry to make a quick" decision on the punter. Zorn also pointed out several times how well Brooks did in the victory over Dallas.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 3:40 PM ET
 
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Comments

I believe I was FIRST to go on record saying the Frost release was a bad move. Okay maybe second.

Posted by: RambleOn | October 6, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Taking a chance on Brooks made more sense than sticking with a known problem in Frost. So far, Brooks isn't the answer. But I doubt there is another answer out there at this moment thats much better.

I'm for giving Brooks the time to develop further, but he's not making it easy.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | October 6, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The only downside of having so many apparent cupcakes on our schedule is that our NFC East comrades are being served most of the same cupcakes. But if we keep taking care of business we'll be fine and dandy.

Remind me please who it was that hit Brian Westbrook and broke those ribs?

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Nate just assume that it was the entire starting line up at once and its probably right.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

So if we are in the playoffs? Fake an injury/practice squad the kid then get a vet in there???

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Because Frost is really lighting it up for Green Bay right? You guys make me laugh. People in Green bay are calling for Frosty's head. :D

Posted by: Veretax | October 6, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

alex, we'll have this sorted out well before the playoffs. We've survived two freakin' TD runbacks so far. We can only get better. It's the kid's fifth game.

(Was it your suggestion to get Ray Guy in here to help him along with these rookie yips? Yeah, I second that... scramble Redskin One, stat!)

Hmm... I wonder if sween has a scouting report on this Rams punter. The guy is or was leading the league with a monster average, which is pretty good news for a team as bad as they are.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It's too early for a punter's watch.

Everyone was on his sack during the Dallas game and he had on real good punt this game. Still better than Derrick Frost and he was given atleast 2 years to stay on the team.........

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 6, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how Frost sucking makes drafting Brooks to suck any less painful. However I'm inclined to look past this oversight based on other good decisions. Who knows maybe we'd have drafted a safety in the 6th round and not picked Horton.

Wow, I'm becoming a positive sports fan. This is freaking me out.

Posted by: Gweez | October 6, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

That Rocca guy was pretty impressive.

I wonder if we have any scouts down in the Aussie Rules league. Those guys can sure boom it.

Posted by: ksquare | October 6, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Todd Collins should be the holder, if there is a fumble (or a fake) we want a vetern quarterback handling the ball rather than a rookie who obviously needs to spend his time practicing punting.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | October 6, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

PB69. I still would rather El be holding, that would give teams a lot to think about.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse


Jim Mora's warning:
The Playoffs? Playoffs?....Playoffs?
Teams now UP for Skins.

Posted by: HaikuMan | October 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

We need to relax on Brooks. They (The ones who matter ie Danny Smith and Jim Zorn) see the same in Brooks as they do in D Thomas and M Kelly. Lots of upside, and some very noticeable rookie mistakes. News flash to those following along: Brooks is going no where, and Zorn basically told the schlubs to STFU re running Brooks outta town. It ain't gonna happen. The Kid is an UPGRADE over Frost (yeah I'm talking to you JLC) and WILL continue to mature and improve. Stick to rabble rousing re Soup's contract...

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | October 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: HaikuMan | October 6, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

And we've come full circle. Back to punter talk.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | October 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if we have any scouts down in the Aussie Rules league. Those guys can sure boom it.

Posted by: ksquare | October 6, 2008 4:00 PM |

Kost42 is our scout down there. But, frankly, if these guys -- as a group -- were that good then every team would already have one. Roca's an exception.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 6, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Dow droped below 10,000 for a while today btw.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

ARE cant hold, his hand/wrist is botherin him enough so that he dropped like 3 passes yesterday. I doubt you want him handling something as delicate as holding on fg's

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what kind of special teams work goes on at Redskin Park, but I would hope that D Smith and Zorn could start running drills where Brooks has to punt in the face of his onrusing team mates whiel the entire rest of the team watches. Basically, to enable Brooks to face heavy physical pressure and mental stress to get the punt off. Anything that would slow down his perception of game day punts as the opponent rushes. maybe some of the balls and pads Jason has to dodge in certain QB drills can be used to throw at Brooks while he is practicing.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | October 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Okay I was MIA blogwise yesterday. Couldn't handle it. This is the 3 week in a row I've been watching through my fingers, hoodie pulled down over cap pulled down ducking behind the sofa.

I keep waiting for everything to fall apart like it has for so many years. How sad is that? Basically I want to believe but it's hard. It's like recovering from a car accident where someone crashed into you. You keep driving but you keep flinching.
Good lord I have PTSD from the Skins.

Help me.

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If you can punt while Jim Zorn throws rocks at you, then you can punt in a game

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Brooks needs some slack. He's a rookie making rookie mistakes and given how the cylinders are firing everywhere else we can afford his growing pains.

It seems to me the weekly talk about his impending doom would not be useful in helping him get better. Zorn needs to publically say Brooks is safe and then call him to the mat in private.

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Look, the kid's a rookie. Personally, I'm a little bothered that a legitimate contender has a rook in such a vital position, but there we are.

But the advantage of a rookie is that he is only going to get better as the season goes along. He's already doing some good things along with the bad, and I'm hoping he'll be in better shape by the end of the regular season. The LAST thing Brooks needs is to get a bad case of the nerves every week by wondering if he'll get cut. Give him some time.

Posted by: acoberst1 | October 6, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

According to NFL.com, Frost is ranked 19th overall and Brooks 25th (not sure what they use for overall rank).

But when ranked by pins in the 20 yard line, Brooks is 12th after 21 punts, and Brooks is way down at 30th after 22 punts.

So its not like he has been a boat anchor. Sure, he needs to improve directional kicking (like, away from the dangerous ones), but we are 4-1... how bad can he be?

Posted by: mattsoundworld | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

We have to be patient with Brooks. He's a rookie punter with plenty of potential upside. He's getting better at holding field goals -- even though I strongly believe that job should be reserved for the backup QB.

The Skins could still be stuck with Frost making a one good punt every other attempt. Brooks only hits a bad one once per game and should improve with more experience...

Posted by: siris | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

AS I said before

he's in his FIRST YEAR and has played THREE DIVISION ROAD GAMES in his first FIVE NFL games EVER. And this isn't some crappy division either, this is the best division in football, period, and these are three VERY hated teams we've played against.


He'll be fine, give 'em time.

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

New nickname: Marion the Vegetarian Barber. Of course only when he plays the Skins!

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 6, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I haven't bothered to go check but I'm assuming all the haters and naysayers are hiding/conceding a little after yesterday.

We've played top 10 offenses and beat them. We've taken on various defenses and now with Philly considered one of the best we've won. So we are legitimate.

I'm prepared to say that I may be very very wrong about my overall record prediction. 10-6 or better seems far more likely.

[The PTSD in me says I hope we're not going to pull a Minny and collapse in the second half of the season.]

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Best reaction I have heard to the eagles loss to date.

Fire Andy Reid. Trade Donovan McNabb. Hire Marty-ball. It's that simple.
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/65694-fire-andy-reid-trade-donovan-mcnabb-hire-marty-ball-its-that-simple

The story does not matter its just a jobless wonder blogitching

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

New nickname: Marion the Vegetarian Barber. Of course only when he plays the Skins!

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 6, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Marion the Vegetarian. LOL thats awesome, hahaha.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | October 6, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"THE DURANT BROOKS WATCH"

How much are the Durant Brooks watches? Didn't see them listed at the Redskin store.

Posted by: TheCork | October 6, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Too many things going right for me to focus on the punter. Punt coverage ... now that's worth a mention since we gave up two TDs. Even if its a line drive punt, you still need to make the play.

As for holder, I'd go with Todd Collins. And even though he was better, I'd like to see someone other than ARE doing our punt returns. Too valuable

Posted by: zcezcest1 | October 6, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree with most posts, layoff the man. When your a surprising 4-1, I guess the only bad is our punter. Its almost like the Qb taking heat for losing. He does need to get better and more consistent. I think he will.

Great start for our Skins! I would have never guessed beating Dallas in Dallas and the next week Philly in Philly - WOW!

Okay, we've weathered the start of this season and then some - now the test of winning as a favorite comes the next three-four weeks (or longer). Hopefully with our veteran team this will not be a problem. We can't get ahead of ourselves.

Posted by: Rando | October 6, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

We need this guy. His name is Francois Steyn, and he's the star kicker for the South African national rugby team. Granted, the face and the hair don't inspire a lot of fear, but the guy's got crazy range and hang time, and can aim the ball pretty much anywhere on the field he wants it to go. I can't find good video of the games, but during last year's Rugby World Cup he had a couple of kicks that were easily 80-90 yards. Pro rugby money isn't that good yet, so he's probably temptable with a halfway decent deal.

Posted by: hannnah | October 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Come on, guys, how is it possible that Todd Collins could hold for a kick when he's got a clipboard in his hand?

Get real.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is thinking we made the wrong decision between Brooks and Frost, remember that Frost was almost cut by the Packers last week and yesterday his first punt was a 37-yard line drive with 2.97 seconds of hang time. Otherwise, he's having a pretty good season for Green Bay.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 6, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

That rugby player reminds me of Cooley

Posted by: TheTruth11 | October 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if the guy can punt it 100 yards. There aint no way, no how a man named Francois is playin fer these here Redskins. Sounds like a man that should have a star on his helmet.

Posted by: Gweez | October 6, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

That punt shouldnt have been a TD by Desean Jackson. The flag they threw and picked up? Could have been thrown against 2 eagles. I saw the reply multiple times, from multiple angles. Khary Campbell and Mike Sellers were blocked in the back. The refs were absolutely horrible that game. The eagles reciever who wasnt touched and got up and picked up another 30 yds, why would they let that one go and not the ARE catch? ARE woulda scored a TD. And he wasnt touched. I wouldnt say the bad calls were a wash, the Skins got the bad side of most calls/non calls and still won. Impressive.

Posted by: TonyButterFingersHomo1 | October 6, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

why do we need a different guy punting than kicking, Sammy Baugh could do that while QBing and plaiyng CB. And he could stop a steam engine going a full 30 miles per hour with his left hand.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Come on, guys, how is it possible that Todd Collins could hold for a kick when he's got a clipboard in his hand?

Get real.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 4:49 PM

First of all, The Todd is New School. His clipboard is in his cache memory. His holds would just be a matter of cutting and pasting the ball from Albright's hands to the spot where Suisham points.

Second, rookie schmookie. I know I was the big drum banger for a punter ... and this guy is the best there was, but this is the NFL ... and special teams kickers have to know/have consistency and stability of mind. Brooks fs up when he tries to take an additional half step. He needs to get medium and get there quickly. Just like when Jason Campbell used to shake the ball before throwing (Zorn asked if he was making milkshakes), Brooks needs to shake that half step yip, get medium, and stay medium. Pronto. Stat.

Posted by: dcsween | October 6, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The Todd could get a special clip board pouch made for his jersey kind of like a kangaroo and tuck it in on holds.

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

On a side note. Do you think it is too late to change my name to "Wachovia Bank"?

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

On a side note. Do you think it is too late to change my name to "Wachovia Bank"?

Posted by: sfskin | October 6, 2008 5:04 PM |

Why not? No one else is using the name. Of course, you'll probably get sued by Wells Fargo and Citibank.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | October 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Not to change the subject, but I think the season changed when Nate dug up the stat of D Brees through 23 games compared to J Campbell and if Campbell won that game, hey would have the same record through their 1st 23 games. Goog job finding that one……

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 6, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: -swb | October 6, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Andy Reid said Westbrook hurt his ribs on the 8th play of the game. Other than the TD to end the series, the last play where he was the target was the 6th play. Here are plays 6 through 9.

2-10-WAS 47 12:05) 36-B.Westbrook left end to WAS 42 for 5 yards (30-L.Landry).

3-5-WAS 42 (11:25) 86-R.Brown left end to WAS 36 for 6 yards (95-C.Wilson).

1-10-WAS 36 10:37) (Shotgun) 5-D.McNabb pass short middle to 82-L.Smith to WAS 25 for 11 yards (48-C.Horton).

1-10-WAS 25 (9:55) 10-D.Jackson left end to WAS 17 for 8 yards (48-C.Horton).

Maybe Westbrook got hurt blocking?

Posted by: dcsween | October 6, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

You can't blame Brooks solely for having the 2 of the best 4 Punt retuners in the league returning kicks on them...I saw some missed tackles and guys not staying in their lanes on both returns...not to mention...The eagles got away with two blocks in the back On the Jackson return....Still trying find negative things to write about a Jason....How bout an article on the Crow you still have not eaten from all your bash writing through out the whole off season?

Posted by: leevi98 | October 6, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

sfskin,

good to see ya bygo.

i'm in the camp that sez leave the kid punter alone.
if he's lookin' over his shoulder all the time, it's kinda hard to get in the right frame of mind.

f the lambs.

Posted by: RedskinWillie | October 7, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

anyone who believes that we should have kept frost has a frozen mind. he cost us some tight games in the years he has been here because of his inconsitencies. he is still bad even with green bay. they have been bringing in punters because he sucks.

Posted by: rls1041 | October 7, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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