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53: The Specialists

Jul 26, 2009, 5:19 AM EDT

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Suisham cropped

Suisham should fend off challenger Rayner

Between now and the start of training camp I’ll be making my predictions about who will be on the final 53-man roster for the Washington Redskins–who’s there, who’s in, who’s on the bubble, and who’s out. The predicted roster will be revised and updated as preseason events warrant. Today, the specialists:

This isn’t worth a full-blown chart or extended analysis. The punter will be Hunter Smith. You have to wonder why the Colts let him go after he averaged over 44 yards a punt last year, with a net average of 38.8, but he’s likely to be an improvement over the myriad of punters the Redskins have employed recently.

Ethan Albright will be the long snapper. Period.

There is some actual competition for kicker Shaun Suisham, who had the worst field goal percentage in the NFL last year. Dave Rayner has been with five different teams in four NFL seasons. He was a kickoff specialist for the Colts in 2005 and the Packers’ full-time kicker in 2006. In his career he is 41 of 52 on field goals, a 71% average. Suisham’s league-worst percentage last year was 72.2% so Rayner will have to up his game if he’s going to challenge him.

I’d say there’s a 20% chance that Rayner can beat out Suisham.

Spots taken so far: 25

Spots to go: 28

Next: Offensive line

  1. fastwb - Jul 29, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    So now that you’ve finished your first take on the final 53-man roster, who are your kick return specialists? I assume you didn’t dwell on that during your initial analysis since you were focusing on the players at each position. Also, as you mentioned, special teams performance in preseason can determine alot and it is nearly impossible to predict. I know that’s what I’ll be watching closely since it is so unpredictable and one of the few areas that can’t be easily recreated on the practice field. All that aside, if things turn out exactly as you have predicted as of now, who would be your punt returner and kick returners?

  2. Rich - Jul 29, 2009 at 3:04 PM

    I’m sticking with Rock and ARE right now. That certainly could change, I’ve never really seen Tryon or Dominique Dorsey or Aldridge return so I don’t know yet. At the very least someone new will have to back up ARE since Thrash is gone.

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