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Rocca a 'Weapon' In Redskins' Punting Game


Punter isn't a heralded position on an NFL team, but Sav Rocca is changing that for the Redskins.

Last season, the Redskins had four different punters and were tied for 29th in the league in average yards (40.2) and tied for 21st for punts downed inside the 20 (23).

Rocca has improved those numbers already in 2011, with an average of 44.2 yards and a league-leading 12 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

"I have been coaching for a while at the collegiate level and the pro level and I've never seen one person punt like him," head coach Mike Shanahan said last week. "He's definitely a weapon and that doesn't happen very often, where a guy can consistently kick the ball inside the 20 and consistently have the hang time that he has."

Rocca's versatility and consistency have allowed the Redskins to be more aggressive in punt coverage this season, something that he attributes to his success.

"It has been a great team effort," Rocca said. "We've had such a great special teams coverage team, that even when I don't get my best punt off, these guys are all really busting their gut getting down there."

The Redskins are ranked seventh in net punt yardage this year. They have allowed only 68 return yards on 21 punts, for an average of 3.2 yards per return.

"Net is really the team stat that we look at after my punt," Rocca explained. "If I give it as much hang time as possible for these guys to get down there, then they're not going to have any return yards."

Next on the Redskins schedule is the Eagles, the team where Rocca began his NFL career five years ago. This will be his first matchup against his former team and dangerous returner DeSean Jackson.

"With DeSean being so good, I don't think we'll give him too many balls in the middle of the field," he said. "But if we can get any sort of decent yardage with some hang, then I know our guys will get down there as quick as they can."

Rocca, 37, works very hard to stay even-keeled in his emotions, but admitted that he is looking forward to playing his former teammates in his new home.

"Obviously I still know a lot of the guys back there, so I'm looking forward to it," he said. "It's going to be important for us to get a win coming back off the bye, coming in fresh. Hopefully we can do that."

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