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Decision to cut Hunter Smith highlights D.C. dysfunction

Graham Gano, Hunter Smith

So how big of a mess are the Redskins under coach Mike Shanahan?  Let’s consider the latest example of D.C. dysfunction.

As Rosenthal pointed out on Tuesday, Shanahan and company cut punter Hunter Smith after Smith failed to catch a high snap that prevented the team from converting an extra point that would have tied the game at 17, and most likely would have forced overtime.

Let’s think about this one for a second.  Your punter is your holder, and your punter makes a mistake while serving as your holder, so you fire your punter?

Why not do something radical like, say, having someone else serve as holder?

This move seems like another case of Shanahan thinking that whatever makes him feel better coincides with the best interests of the team.  And after a frustrating loss, Shanahan probably felt a little bit better after getting rid of the guy who failed to catch in the rain a snap that was high from a long snapper who wasn’t fired for making a high snap.  (Yet.)

We suppose there’s a chance that Smith was fired because of his punting, but that would be about as coincidental as defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth being the only guy asked to take a conditioning test on the first day of training camp.

Then again, maybe it was also Smith’s fault that kicker Graham Gano missed those two short field goals.

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26 Responses to “Decision to cut Hunter Smith highlights D.C. dysfunction”
  1. dccowboy says: Dec 15, 2010 8:10 AM

    I’m mystified as to why they haven’t cut Gano. He sucks. He certainly sucks worse than their punter.

    Now they have to replace their punter and their holder.

  2. hobbie8046 says: Dec 15, 2010 8:28 AM

    Hunter Smith was awful this year. The bad hold was more of a last straw situation and less of a scapegoat situation.

  3. bleedgreen says: Dec 15, 2010 8:34 AM

    Especially when the ball is SOAKING wet in the pouring down rain. Its not like the ball was dry and stuck to his hands. It looked like a Tony Romo situation where it hit the guys hands and just kept going.

  4. wydok says: Dec 15, 2010 8:34 AM

    “Why not do something radical like, say, having someone else serve as holder”

    Or, conversely, fire the long snapper.

  5. JeffreyAuburnDixon says: Dec 15, 2010 8:41 AM

    Who else would be the holder? How does it make sense to have anyone but the punter be the holder? Holding on kick attempts is part of the punter’s job. If he can’t do it, then he can’t do his job, and yes, you fire him for that.

    Seriously though, who else would do it? The backup QB? Yeah right, that makes a lot of sense. What happens when your starter goes down and the backup comes into the game, does he still do the holding? If he does, then he’s missing out on whatever sideline coaching he could get during special teams play, which for a backup is important. And if he doesn’t do the holding then you’ve got someone else doing it that hasn’t practiced as much.

    The holder is the punter, the punter is the holder. It’s the only way. There is no one else on the team as well suited to the task as the punter.

  6. pfinnj says: Dec 15, 2010 8:42 AM

    The Skins should have been up by 20 points at halftime. Incompetence in the red zone and a particularly incompetent kicker let the Bucs off the hook. If I were Shanahan, the first firee would be my son. The second my QB.

  7. somesome says: Dec 15, 2010 8:47 AM

    … so business as usual in DC.

  8. mad55555 says: Dec 15, 2010 8:47 AM

    Wow, just wow. Hey Cooley, Who’s the bonehead now ;o. . . . .<—crying from laughing too hard.
    Thanks for the 2nd rder & 4th rder. Thanks for signing Mcnabb again, and Basically thanks for sucking so much, that when I have a bad day, I just think of your team and it makes my bad days look like I just won the lottery. BWAHAHAHA
    11 years+ of failure with no end it sight.
    They certain have to change that stupid motto from Hail! to FAIL! Racist skins. I mean, it's so seamless no one will even care. Not like anyone really gives a damn now. Let me stop. I am starting to feel like I am beating a special needs child. (I probably am in a way)

  9. visible4 says: Dec 15, 2010 9:11 AM

    Shanahan is seriously one of the most overrated coaches…PERIOD. Since Elway retired, and stopped carrying this bum, he has had ONE playoff win. Talk about being exposed!

  10. kellyb9 says: Dec 15, 2010 9:14 AM

    I only really saw this play once or twice, but from my angle, the snap looked high. Maybe, just maybe Smith should have been able to bring it down, but most NFL snappers should be able to put it in the bread basket.

  11. desertpirate1146 says: Dec 15, 2010 9:34 AM

    Smith should sue the officials for his loss of income. If they had done their job properly, there never would have been a chance to screw up the extra point.
    (oops…this probably won’t be published..forgot that the NFL has “requested” that no one talk about the screw up of awarding a first down for only a 9 yard gain that changed the outcome based on point spread..)

  12. skinnyskins says: Dec 15, 2010 9:35 AM

    No, Mike. Cutting Hunter the Punter does not show dysfunction. Hunter was a bottom tier punter averaging 40.5 yards per punt (with a long of 56 yards, also low). I watch every skins game and there are many times which he shanks the ball during clutch moments and gives excellent field position to the other team. He also has a relatively low number of punts inside the 20 (17) and high average return (14.8) because when given the chance to let it rip he lacks hangtime and outkicks the coverage.

    The only reason he remained on the team for as long as he has is because he threw a TD pass last year on a fake.

    He has not been good and botching a hold (his only other job) is pathetic, regardless of the rain.

  13. myspaceyourface says: Dec 15, 2010 9:50 AM

    SHANAHAN: Get off this guys back. . . If Redskin fans are patient he will eventually get his players on that roster. . .

    Once he does that, they will be solid year in and year out.

    Lazy Albert represents the way Snyder used to run that team. Once they weed out some of the junk, they will get guys that buy into the system and are willing to do what they are told.

    Instead of lay on the field for 8 seconds after they are pancaked. . . . . . . . .

    Is he perfect no, but he has to change a culture that has been long established in that franchise.

  14. scra22 says: Dec 15, 2010 9:52 AM

    Greg Easterbrook pointed out in TMQ that the best thing for the Redskins to do in that situation at the end of the game would have been to go for two points, considering the troubles of the kicker all game long. Go for two and for the win. But because Shanahan would have the blame placed on him if the 2-point conversion failed, instead he went the safe route for 1 point so any failure going forward would be placed on the players. Hunter Smith became a scapegoat. Shanahan’s coaching and decisions have just not been very impressive this year.

  15. BC says: Dec 15, 2010 9:53 AM

    The snap was abysmal. Even if he’d caught it I doubt he’d have gotten it down in time. Shanahan is power-drunk.

  16. jpryan06 says: Dec 15, 2010 9:57 AM

    Hunter the Punter IS a good punter who’s having an off year…

    Was the botched extra point his fault? Partly… yeah it was partly the long-snapper’s fault too…

    But seriously there’s SO much more wrong with the Redskins than a botched extra point attempt.

    Hunter Smith will end up somewhere and do a good job for them.

  17. loydchristmas says: Dec 15, 2010 10:22 AM

    cutting punter/holder = giving up on the season.

  18. maddog111 says: Dec 15, 2010 10:29 AM

    skinnyskins says:
    Dec 15, 2010 9:35 AM
    No, Mike. Cutting Hunter the Punter does not show dysfunction. Hunter was a bottom tier punter averaging 40.5 yards per punt (with a long of 56 yards, also low). I watch every skins game and there are many times which he shanks the ball during clutch moments and gives excellent field position to the other team.
    ———————————————–
    When exactly was the last time the Skins had a “clutch moment”?

  19. CJ says: Dec 15, 2010 10:31 AM

    If Grossman starts this weekend, do they dare use the backup QB (i.e. McNabb) as the holder?

    Could his ego take it? I think he’d be pretty good at it…he always comes up big in crucial situations when the game is on the line. Oh wait…

  20. textthis says: Dec 15, 2010 11:00 AM

    A nice add in to this article would have been the punters ranking in net yards, inside the 20 punts, touchbacks, etc. That would allow us and you to determine if this was just based on the hold or if it was the final straw. Writing quality articles over quantity articles will give this site better longterm success. Here, I’ll do it:

    http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=0&statisticCategory=PUNTING&season=2010&seasonType=REG

  21. mean13 says: Dec 15, 2010 11:17 AM

    Shanahan needs to fire his OC. Oh…wait…

  22. maximus929 says: Dec 15, 2010 11:31 AM

    OK. Had he been punted because he dropped a snap in a key situation, that would have been capricious.

    But Hunter Smith is pretty much one of the worst punters in the league by any measure you want to choose. Don’t you think you should mention that?

    And on a professional note, if you suck and you have an amazing gig – like being an NFL player – even though you suck, it’s not a good idea to float the idea to the media that the coach should fire you and not the kicker who missed two short field goals. That would be leading with your chin.

    Enjoy bagging groceries Mr. Smith. You won’t be back.

  23. bostonbias says: Dec 15, 2010 11:33 AM

    Mike does realize this guy is ranked 30th and 31st in the NFL in punting key stats right? He was terrible all year. Just proves this guy does not look into facts.

  24. larf003 says: Dec 15, 2010 12:46 PM

    JeffreyAuburnDixon says: Dec 15, 2010 8:41 AM

    Who else would be the holder? How does it make sense to have anyone but the punter be the holder? Holding on kick attempts is part of the punter’s job. If he can’t do it, then he can’t do his job, and yes, you fire him for that.

    Seriously though, who else would do it? The backup QB? Yeah right, that makes a lot of sense. What happens when your starter goes down and the backup comes into the game, does he still do the holding? If he does, then he’s missing out on whatever sideline coaching he could get during special teams play, which for a backup is important. And if he doesn’t do the holding then you’ve got someone else doing it that hasn’t practiced as much.

    The holder is the punter, the punter is the holder. It’s the only way. There is no one else on the team as well suited to the task as the punter.
    ———————————————

    Take a chill pill man what have you been watching football for all of 5 minutes? MOST of the time the punter holds for the kicker, but not always. It’s already been mentioned in this thread about the Tony Romo incident in the Seattle playoff game, where he botched the snap & then famously failed to run it in. The reason WHY he was the holder is because he had previously been the BACKUP QB. After becoming the starting QB, they didn’t want to disrupt their kicker (since kickers can be picky princesses sometimes) so they kept Romo as the holder.

    Back in the Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” days Jeff Wilkins was actually allowed by Mike Martz to tryout holders in training camp. Eventually Dane Looker (of NFL Europe fame) became the favorite of Wilkins, & was given the holding job. Looker’s actual position was Wide Receiver. Which if you might recall the Rams GSOT days, they had a stable full of WRs. So Martz famously carried a 6th WR into the season on a team that was already LOADED w/ WR talent. The MAIN reason Looker continued to make the team yr. after yr. was because of his job as holder for Wilkins. IF he ever saw the field otherwise it was for kick & punt coverages.

    Sorry the facts get in the way of your extremely limited view of football, but that’s the way the proverbial ball bounces!

  25. shervybaby says: Dec 15, 2010 1:13 PM

    The Redskins are the biggest joke in the NFL for the past 10 years. Worse than the Raiders IMO. Can’t wait for them to get worked by the Cowboys next Sunday. Not to mention that Redskins fans are some of the biggest idiots you will ever come across. Every year when there team goes 4-2, 3-1, or basically after the first 4 games they think there team is the $hit and “were goin to der super bowl uhhh hiyugh.” LOL Losers. And they wonder why there are so many Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants fans in DC. NOBODY HAS RESPECT FOR THE WASHINGTON REDSKINS.

  26. rickvaldez says: Dec 15, 2010 6:12 PM

    @shervybaby

    Every year when there team goes 4-2, 3-1, or basically after the first 4 games they think there team is the $hit and “were goin to der super bowl uhhh hiyugh.”

    Mabye the dorks you hang around might say that but anyone that knows football can see what kind of shape the team is in. Or mabye your one of those bandwagon Cowboy’s fans that starts the SB chant in the preseason.

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