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Frost Among Redskins' Early Surprises


In the Redskins' preseason opener at Tennessee, punter Derrick Frost may have gotten a little carried away.

Frost punted eight times that night, averaging 47.3 yards per effort in a game the Redskins won 14-6.

One particular effort from Frost in Nashville stands out. In the second quarter, Frost punted from inside his team's own 30-yard line to Titans return man Cortland Finnegan.

With that, Frost charged down the field and put a hard hit on Finnegan, who fumbled the ball out of bounds at the Tennessee 19. It was, you might say, Finnegan's wake-up call.

Punters don't often get involved in such sequences. Weeks later, in fact, Frost still was talking about that preseason stop, saying in jest: "Make sure you get it correct. I didn't just get involved in the tackle. I made the tackle."

As such, Frost performed due diligence in terms of representing the NFL's punting fraternity.

Three weeks into the 2007 NFL season, it's become a fraternity that must recognize Derrick Frost as one its ascending members.

In terms of overall punting statistics, Frost ranks third in the NFL as the Redskins headed into their bye week. He trailed only Andy Lee of San Francisco and Dustin Colquitt of Kansas City.

Through three games, Frost punted 17 times for 780 yard, an average of 45.9 yards per try. His net average: 40.5.

Frost dropped five punts inside the 20-yard line, and only nine of his 17 punts prompted returns, for less than six yards per return.

The 6-2, 201-pound fourth-year NFL player launched a 64-yarder against the Dolphins on Week 1. He followed that up with a 55-yarder at Philadelphia.

In the most recent Redskins outing, the disappointing 24-17 loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 23 at FedExField, Frost was a key figure in the Redskins' attack. He punted seven times, placed three inside the 20 and produced a long effort of 58.

Frost's contribution was overlooked in the aftermath of a difficult loss for his team.

What has also been overlooked is how the Redskins have stayed patient with Frost since acquiring him early in the 2005 season. He struggled with consistency the last few years, but he has improved each year, each game.

Danny Smith doesn't necessarily want Frost to continue to try to make tackles like the one he planted on the Titans' Finnegan. But Smith does hope Frost, now in his third year with the Redskins, is able to keep up his exceptional punting.

In the summer, there was no competition for Frost concerning the team's punting job. He was able to go at his own pace, which proved to be beneficial, he maintains now.

"I'm lucky to have found a team that believes in me," Frost said. "I'm fortunate, every day, just to be in this position."

At the same time, Frost, a native of St. Louis and a dedicated Cardinals baseball fans, recognizes there's little job security for specialists in the NFL.

"If I don't produce, they'll bring someone else in and get rid of me," he acknowledges. "But I know that if I do my best every day, I'll be okay. That's really all I can focus on."

In the first month of the season, Frost and Shaun Suisham have kept worries at bay regarding the punting and kicking game.

For his part, Frost says Smith, the Redskins' energetic and peripatetic special teams coach, pinpointed some technique issues in his style. He's been able to iron them out so far in 2007 but remains something of a work in progress nonetheless.

Says Frost, who played his college ball at Northern Iowa: "I'm still trying to refine what I'm doing. But so far this season, it really feels as though the ball is coming off my foot with more authority."

Added Frost: "I used to break down my performance game by game. Now, I realize that the difference between me and the guys at the top is very slim. I look at it on a punt by punt basis. I'm focused on every punt of every game."

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