GAUGING THE REDSKINS

Special Teams

The Redskins finished last season ranked last in punting, hovered near the bottom of the league in field goal percentage, lost its two leading special teams tacklers and finished tied for 21st in yards per punt return. So yes, special teams was an area that desperately needed an upgrade entering 2009. Washington looked to several avenues in order to solve those problems during the offseason. The biggest move was the signing of punter Hunter Smith (right), a free agent who had spent the previous 10 years with the Indianapolis Colts. The Redskins believe Smith will solidify a position that has been in flux for the past decade, and with a career average of 43.4 yards per punt (35.5 net), the aptly nicknamed "Hunter the Punter" has a resume that inspires hope. At place kicker, incumbent Shaun Suisham beat out Dave Rayner for the job in the preseason.

Redskins punter Hunter Smith

(By John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)