The Redskins released Nick Novak on Saturday, ending the kicker's seven-week run with the team. With John Hall fully recovered from a quad injury and punter Derrick Frost available for kickoffs, the team no longer needed two kickers on the roster.
Also on Saturday, the Redskins elevated a pair of practice squad players--tight end Robert Johnson and linebacker Robert McCune--to the 53-man roster and released cornerback Dimitri Patterson.
Johnson is a 6-6, 278-pound tight end out of Auburn who impressed coaches in training camp and preseason. He has spent the first eight weeks of the NFL season on the Redskins' practice squad.
Johnson played briefly in the NFL with the Chicago Bears during the 2003 season.
McCune was the Redskins' fifth-round draft choice last April. If active on Sunday, the 6-1, 245-pound linebacker out of Louisville would make his NFL debut. Like Johnson, McCune has spent the first eight weeks of the NFL season on the practice squad.
Novak gained valuable experience over the last few weeks as an NFL kicker. He took over for John Hall, who had sustained a quad injury after kicking three field goals in the Redskins' Week 1 over the Chicago Bears.
Novak joined the Redskins just prior to the Week 2 game at Dallas. Talk about pressure. The rookie out of Maryland was making his NFL debut on Monday Night Football. He wasn't needed to kick any field goals at Texas Stadium, but he did kick two extra points, including the extra point that proved to be a game-winner in the Redskins' stunning 14-13 comeback win.
It has been forgotten that Novak logged a key tackle on a kick return after the Redskins had taken a lead late in the game. As the last line of defense, Novak knocked kick return man Tyson Thomson out of bounds, preventing a Cowboys touchdown.
A week later, the magic continued.
Against the Seattle Seahawks at FedExField, Novak was 2-of-3 on field goals and nailed a 39-yard field goal in overtime to seal a 20-17 win for the Redskins. After the kick, in front of a roaring FedExField crowd, Novak celebrated by running toward the Redskins' sideline and leaping into the arms of guard Derrick Dockery. That has been one of the indelible images of the Redskins' season so far.
For the season, Novak played in five games and was 5-of-7 on field goals, with a long of 40, and 15-of-15 on PATs.
The Redskins remained committed to Hall, a 9-year veteran who is in his third year in Washington. Hall was ready to return last Sunday against the New York Giants, but it turned out he was not needed as the Redskins lost 36-0.
Patterson, a rookie out of Tuskegee, has spent time on the Redskins' active roster and practice squad this season. It's possible that he will be resigned to the practice squad following Sunday's game.