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Fight for Old DC is a blog covering all sports in and around the District. Main focus will be on the Capitals, Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, United, and Hokies (I know they aren't DC, but it's my alma mater). Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Villain Series: Redskins Fans Hate Their Special Teams

There are a lot of different people and things that Redskins fans and players have hated in the past. The quickest things that jump to mind for any Redskin fan are the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Irvin and his crack pipe, Philadelphia fans (who should be on everyone’s villain list), Deion Sanders, Jeff George, or any other bad free agent signing ever. Others would suggest that the money-grubbing, bratty owner would classify as a villain to all fans of the NFL. However, I can argue that there’s one particular group that has pissed off ‘Skins fans beyond all others in recent history: the kickers.

Current Villain: Redskins Kickers/Punters/Snappers since the 1999 season

Think back to the last Redskins game you watched where a Redskins kicker or punter didn’t PISS YOU THE HELL OFF…

…keep thinking…

…it could have been that one…

…no, John Hall got a personal foul in that game…

…give up?

One particular memory stews in my brain that I can point to as the complete downturn of Redskins specialists (minus the Red Snapper of course). Back on January 15, 2000, the Redskins lined up for a field goal to take a 16-14 lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late in their divisional playoff matchup when snapper Dan Turk literally ROLLED the ball back to Brad Johnson, who didn’t have enough time to set the ball for the field goal attempt. The Redskins lost that game 14-13, and haven’t made it further than the second round since that day. If that event was an isolated one, I wouldn’t be so angry 10 years later, but it hasn’t been. It was the first bad event in the eventual downturn and destruction of the Redskins special teams units. After the Dan Turk incident, Matt Turk got a bad taste in his mouth and left the organization in 2000. Turk was a half-way decent punter at the time, and is still kicking for Houston this season. The Redskins have finished no higher than 18th in net punting since Turk left the team, and have had a revolving door ever since. We all have forgotten the Andy Grooms and the Tommy Barnhardts, but it’s hard to forget how inept Bryan Barker was (even with his bloody nose). Derrick Frost was the king of the hissyfit last season when he was cut in favor of Durant Brooks (and described as 'honking' terrible punts for the Packers in his next assignment), and Brooks only made it until about week six. Then the Skins signed the world’s heaviest punter in Ryan Plackemeier, who was pretty good at Wake Forest but SUCKED for Washington (shocker). Think that’s all our problems? That’s only our punters.

To say that Redskins kicking has been inconsistent is like saying that Michael Jackson only had one nose job (too soon?) or that Barry Bonds had one too many protein shakes. Check out this laundry list of kickers:

1999: Brett Conway
2000: Brett Conway, Michael Husted, Kris Heppner, Eddie Murray, Scott Bentley
2001: Brett Conway
2002: Brett Conway, Jose Cortez, James Tuthill
2003: John Hall
2004: John Hall, Ola Kimrin, Jeff Chandler
2005: John Hall, Nick Novak
2006: Shaun Suisham, John Hall, Nick Novak
2007: Shaun Suisham
2008: Shaun Suisham

Technically we had Brett Conway from ’99-’02, Hall from ’03-’05, and Shazzam from ’06-now, but there’s a reason why guys like Jose Cortez and Nick Novak find themselves on that list. Conway was inconsistent for his four-year stint in Washington (including that 2000 incident), and was threatened with replacement several times. Hall seemed to bring some hope with him from the Jets in 2003, but showed an affinity for personal foul penalties and hurting himself while tackling opponents. After battling injuries through 2004 and 2005, he gave way to Suisham, who hasn’t been mister consistency himself. His accuracy has dropped from 88% in 2006 to 72% in 2008. And let’s not even mention kickoffs. I think the last time the Redskins had a touchback, Chip Lohmiller was still rocking #8 in RFK. You know what pisses me off more than anything else about the Redskins kicking dilemma? It’s the fact that we cut David Akers after the 1998 season. DAVID MOTHERF&#*%$ AKERS. The guy with 3 Pro Bowls. The guy with a career accuracy of 81%. THE GUY WITH A CAREER LONG OF 57 YARDS. God I hate the Eagles, but not as much as I hate our kickers.

Also Receiving Votes: Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, Jeff George, Donovan McNabb, Tiki Barber

Next Up: Capitals Villains

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