By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The Washington Redskins' search for improved special teams led to another roster move yesterday as rookie punter Andy Groom was waived and free agent punter Derrick Frost was signed.
Frost spent 2004 with the Cleveland Browns, appearing in 16 games and averaging 40 yards per punt. He put 24 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Punting is an area Washington is looking to improve upon after surrendering field position in the first two games. Groom made the team out of training camp after veteran Tom Tupa suffered a season-ending injury, and he beat out veteran Chris Mohr for a final roster spot, but did not do enough to solidify his hold on the job.
"We felt like we were kind of backed up there [on field position]," Coach Joe Gibbs said of Groom. "It was just an evaluation we made."
Groom averaged just 39 yards per punt through two games, however -- second worst among the 32 starting punters in the NFL -- leading to the change. Frost had a difficult tenure in Cleveland, however, and drew the ire of fans when his seven-yard punt led to a loss to Baltimore on a Sunday night last November.
"It's kind of a black eye," Frost said of his prime-time shank, "because in this league you're only as good as your last punt. So I'm really, really fortunate for this opportunity."
The Redskins have been trying to improve their special teams for years, and have already switched specialists several times. Return man Antonio Brown was cut after fumbling a kickoff in Week 1, with running back Ladell Betts and receiver James Thrash handling those duties now. Kicker John Hall was injured in Week 1 and missed the game in Dallas, prompting the Redskins to sign rookie Nick Novak (Maryland). Hall was unable to practice yesterday and has not kicked since getting hurt late in the season opener, but has not ruled out playing on Sunday.
"I kicked a few imaginary balls today," Hall said. "Tomorrow, I'll hit a couple of Nerf balls and hopefully Wednesday I'll be able to kick real ones."Injury Updates
Cornerback Walt Harris (calf), and tackle Jon Jansen (thumbs) were held out of practice but should return tomorrow , Gibbs said. "I'll be back in there Wednesday," Jansen said. "I'm just trying to get healed up as much as I can." Linebacker Lemar Marshall (groin) participated in part of practice. Safety Pierson Prioleau (hamstring) did not practice.