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Roster Review: Kickers/Punters

108012.jpg breaks down the Redskins' roster position-by-position and identifies potential need areas. Up next: kickers/punters:

Through most of the 2000s, the Redskins had turnover at both kicker and punter.

Last season was no exception.

The Redskins thought they were secure at punter when they acquired veteran Hunter Smithin 2009 free agency.

For most of the season, Smith was solid even though he was ranked in the bottom half of the league in punting.

In 13 games, he had 57 punts for a 41.3-yard average and a 36.8-yard net average, ranking him at 23rd in the league.

Midseason, Smith suffered a groin injury that cost him three games. The team had to sign Glenn Pakulak for two games and Sam Paulescu for one game.

Smith also served as the Redskins' holder on field goals.

His biggest impact may have been on trick plays.

In Week 1 vs. New York Giants, Smith ran for an 8-yard touchdown on a fake field goal attempt. And in Week 10 vs. Denver, Smith executed a fake punt perfectly by throwing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Mike Sellers.

At kicker, the Redskins went into the season with Shaun Suisham.

Suisham was solid most of the season until he missed a pair of field goals in a 7-6 loss to Dallas in Week 11 and a game-clinching 23-yarder in a 33-30 loss to New Orleans in Week 13.

He was abruptly released on Dec. 8 and the team signed rookie Graham Gano.

Gano played in the Redskins' last four games and converted all four of his field goal attempts. He made 6-of-7 extra points, his only miss a blocked attempt.

Earlier in 2009, Gano was with the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives, where he converted 13-of-16 field goal attempts and all 20 PATs. In the UFL championship game, Gano kicked a game-winning, 33-yard field goal in overtime as the Locomotives defeated the Florida Tuskers 20-17.

Gano was the only Redskins place kicker on the roster until Feb. 12, when the team signed Justin Medlock to a futures contract.

Medlock spent last season in the Canadian Football League. He had brief NFL stints with the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.

Ethan Albright has served as the Redskins' long snapper since 2001, and he remains steady and reliable in that specialized role.

The Redskins have signed young long snapper Nick Sundberg to compete for the job in 2010.


As of March 9, the Redskins do not officially have a punter on the roster.

Smith enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent and he remains unsigned.

The Redskins will need to have at least one punter on the roster by mid-April when the team hosts its first mini-camp.

It appears Gano and Medlock are going to have a chance to establish themselves with the Redskins.

The Redskins could make a move for a more proven kicker, though.

At long snapper, Albright is an unrestricted free agent and his future with the club is uncertain.

Two Kickers/Punters Eligible for Free Agency

As of March 9, 2010; names listed are in no particular order

-- Shayne Graham, Cincinnati Bengals (Kicker): Graham has served as the Bengals' place kicker the last eight years and he made the Pro Bowl in 2005. He made 85.2 percent of his field goals in his career, but he had several critical misses in the Bengals' playoff game last season.

-- Josh Bidwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Punter): Bidwell's 10-year career included stints with Green Bay and Tampa Bay, but he spent last year on injured reserve with a hip injury. A 2005 Pro Bowler, Bidwell has a 42.8-yard career punting average.

Two Kickers/Punters Available In NFL Draft

As of March 9, 2010; names listed are in no particular order

-- Brett Swenson, Michigan State (Kicker): Swenson converted 19-of-22 field goals last season, including a career-long 52-yarder. He is Michigan State's all-time leader in points scored and field goals.

-- Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech (Punter): The Centreville, Va., native served as the Hokies' punter the last three years. Last season, he had 57 punts for a 43.8-yard average, with a long of 60.

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