By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Washington Redskins place kicker John Hall has a strained groin and thigh and his condition is so uncertain that the team will try out five possible replacements today, including Nick Novak, who filled in for Hall last season.
The Redskins also will bring in former Atlanta Falcons place kicker Todd Peterson; Tyler Jones, who was cut by the Redskins in training camp; and former Redskin Ola Kimrin for an early afternoon workout, sources said. The name of the other kicker could not be determined last night.
"We definitely have to do something about this," Coach Joe Gibbs said. "It seemed to act up on John and I thought he was compensating."
Hall, 32, was unable to handle kickoffs Sunday in a 19-3 loss to the New York Giants but made 1 of 2 field goal tries. Although no one is saying how long he will be out, Gibbs said, "It does not look good." Hall declined to comment yesterday morning at Redskins Park.
"He says it's been going on. He felt fatigued and tired and he certainly felt it during the course of the game and after," Bubba Tyer, the director of sports medicine, said. "We're concerned about it and it's not right. We'll see how it goes this week. There are two spots. His groin is very tender and his thigh is very tender."
When reached by phone yesterday afternoon, Novak said he had a 1 p.m. workout today at Redskins Park. Jones's agent, Mark Mersel, said yesterday that the Redskins had called in the morning and Jones was flying in from Boise, Idaho, for today's workout.
Gibbs did not deny that Novak, Jones and Peterson were being brought in, but did not say which other players were invited.
"I'm a competitor, so I'm not worried about them bringing in other guys," Novak said. "I can only put the ball through the uprights. I don't have any control over what they do with anyone else."
Novak, 25, was released by Arizona on Aug. 30. He worked out with Green Bay and New Orleans. He had been working out the past three weeks at Purdue University, where his parents teach, but arrived in Maryland a few days ago to work out at his former school.
"I didn't know they were going to bring in guys," Novak said. "I didn't watch the game. They told me if anything happened that they would keep me in mind. They were true to their word."
Peterson, 36, is a veteran kicker whose experience may give him an edge with Gibbs. He has played for six teams over his 12-year career and connected on 235 of 296 field goal attempts in 156 games.
Kimrin, 34, kicked in five games with the Redskins in 2004, making 6 of 10 attempts. He was cut by the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 29.
Hall's injury means another personnel change for the Redskins. Since preseason, the team has dealt with problems with injuries in the secondary, primarily to cornerback Shawn Springs.
For a time, it appeared Hall was in trouble, and this latest injury could spell the end of his tenure with the Redskins.
During preseason, Gibbs said he had complete faith in Hall, a Gibbs favorite who, over two seasons in Washington, had struggled with assorted leg injuries. According to sources, Jones, 23, had outperformed Hall during practice, and the Redskins had considered keeping Jones on the roster as a kickoff specialist, but Gibbs was loyal to Hall and did not want to use a roster spot on an extra kicker. But when preseason games began, Jones did not attempt a field goal or extra point and was used on kickoffs only sparingly. After he was cut, Jones worked out with the New York Jets.
"I think they'll do this very quickly," said Rich DeLuca, Novak's agent. "They'll probably give everyone 10 to 12 kicks each, let them do what they all do. And by 1 or 2 p.m. they'll probably have themselves a new kicker."
Hall underwent groin surgery over the summer -- a similar procedure to the one undergone by Springs -- and Gibbs left the kickoff duties to the punter Derrick Frost. As the season began, Hall told Gibbs he felt better and wanted to kick off as well. Last week against Jacksonville, Hall was praised by Gibbs for his kickoffs and for going 3 for 3 on field goals.
Hall is 9 for 11 this season on field goals, but the two he missed were crucial. He missed a 48-yard attempt in the final seconds of the Redskins' 19-16 opening-game loss to Minnesota at FedEx Field that would have sent the game into overtime. In Sunday's loss to the Giants, Hall missed a 42-yard attempt that ended a key 12-play drive that had followed a Giants drive that ended in the first touchdown of the game. On field goal attempts of 40 yards or more, Hall is 2 for 4.
"It's very discouraging, for him and for all of us that he's injured again," Tyer said.
Novak started the season with Arizona before being released when Neil Rackers returned from injury. He originally joined the Redskins on Sept. 13, 2005, after being in training camp with Chicago and Dallas, and filled in well for the injured Hall, going 5 for 7 on field goal tries, including a 39-yard overtime game-winner on Oct. 2 against Seattle.
"He's a lot more than a local guy at this point. He did a great job for them," DeLuca said. "He won a game for them. He was perfect on field goals and extra points. He was very good on kickoffs. He did a great job in Arizona. For an undrafted rookie free agent, the kid was money."
Staff writer Jason La Canfora contributed to this report.