With training camp set to begin next week, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, ending today with the specialists.
While the Redskins are bringing just one punter and long snapper to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., for training camp next week, they also have two kickers in a battle -- depending on preseason performance -- that could come down to the last day of roster cuts.
--Kicker Ty Long (signed as a college free agent)
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
Perhaps no player was more of a surprise last season for the Redskins than punter Tress Way, who went from a late preseason acquisition to unexpected roster addition to one of the best players at his position in the NFL.
Way – an Oklahoma product – not only tied for the league lead in net average at 47.5 yards per kick, but he had statistically one of the best punting performances in the franchise's 82-year history.
No game showed Way's ability to turn the field more than the Redskins' game at the San Francisco 49ers, where two of his punts were downed within the five-yard line and a third was at the eight-yard line.
While Way's contributions certainly caught attention, kicker Kai Forbath quietly put together a solid campaign once again.
Since signing with the Redskins as a free agent midway through the 2012 season, Forbath has converted 59-of-67 (88.1 percent) field-goal attempts. Last season – the first in which he's appeared in all 16 regular-season games as a professional – the UCLA product nailed 24 field goals, including three game winners against Tennessee, Dallas and Philadelphia.
At long snapper once again is Nick Sundberg, who is entering his sixth season with the Redskins.
Way credited Sundberg for his professionalism on and off the field last season, noting that he makes punting a whole lot easier knowing Sundberg's cadence is usually on point.
"It was the stuff off the field that really made Nick so valuable," Way said. "The way he would talk to me on the sideline, the way he would talk to me throughout the week, he really just helped me get my confidence up. He made me feel like I couldn't miss. It was a great feeling and Nick did a great job with me because of that."
The Redskins brought in college free agent Ty Long during the offseason in an effort to push Forbath for kicking duties.
In 48 games across four seasons at UAB, Long converted 59-of-77 field goals and 145-of-159 PATs for 322 points. His 59 made field goals are also a UAB record.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
All NFL kickers – Forbath and Long included – will be impacted by the league's new extra-point policy.
Instead of all extra points being attempted from the two-yard line, they'll take place this season at the 15-yard line. And if extra-point attempts are blocked, defenses have the ability to score two points on a return.
This, in turn, could mean less extra-point attempts for the kickers and more action in the two-point try category.
And speaking of Forbath and Long, could the rookie surpass the veteran for a roster spot?
Last year's battle between Forbath and Zach Hocker came down to the wire.
REDSKINS IN RICHMOND:--Day 1: Quarterbacks
--Day 2: Defensive Linemen
--Day 3: Running Backs
--Day 4: Linebackers
--Day 5: Wide Receivers
--Day 6: Cornerbacks
--Day 7: Tight Ends
--Day 8: Safeties
--Day 9: Offensive Line
--Day 10: Specialists