The most valuable Washington Redskin might be a man who plays fewer than five minutes a game, doesn't run, pass, catch or make tackles and wear shoes that don't match.
Mark Moseley's value is in his right leg.
Moseley is not the ordinary National Football League Place-kicker. He doesn't spend the practice session on his own, he is not a soccer-style kicker, and during games he doesn't kick into a net behind the bench. He pays attention to what is going on on the field.
You see, Moseley was a player before he was a kicker and that, as much as anything, has helped him become perhaps the best place-kicker in the NFL.
"He gets involved in the whole game," said Coach Jack Pardee yesterday, "and that's the biggest difference between Mark and most kickers. It helps him fit into the rest of the team and he is involved in everything. On some teams with the foreign soccer kickers, they are sea apart from the rest of the team."
Moseley never would have it that way. Though kicking is his profession, he still loves the total game of football.
A former college quarterback at Stephen F. Austin, Moseley is a gifted athlete who just happened to perfect the art of kicking.
"It was hard at first being just a kicker after having played for so long." Moseley said, "I had to readjust my emotions. I can't get fired up on every play like I did when I played every down, but I can still relate to what is going on out on the field. I keep into the ball game. I spend a lot of time on the sidelines with Billy (Kilmer talking about what is going on and things."
But when it is time for Moseley to go to work, he trots on the field with that slow gait of his that seems to say, "there is no way I am going to miss."
Usually he doesn't, but Sunday against the New York Giants, he did miss a 35-yarder early in the overtime period.
He came back later, however, to kick a 45-yarder to win the game for Washington, 16-13.
"I was lucky to get a second chance, but I knew I'd get another one," Moseley said.
Some kickers miss simply because they can't take the pressure. Not Moseley. He says it's been that way all of his life, pressure hasn't bothered him.
"I just won't let things bother me." he said. "You put pressure on yourself from within anyway. Kicking is like a habit. You do it instinctively and if you start thinking about it, you start doing things that aren't normal and that's when you get into trouble."
This has been a typical year for Moseley. His 69 points place him second in the NFC in scoring, one point behind Pat Corral of the Los Angeles Rams. Moseley is in third place in the entire NFL with Pat Leahy of the New York Jets the leader with 79 points.
Moseley has made 24 of 25 extra points and 15 of 24 field goals. His longest field goal this season was 52 yards, trying him for the longest kick in the league.
As impressive as his field-goal kicking is, it still is misleading. Five of his nine misses are from 54, 54, 50, 49 and 45 yards.
Moseley has led the NFL in field goals the last two years, making 21 last year and 22 in 1976. Of the eight field goals kicked more than 50 yards in the NFL last season, Moseley had four of them.
Moseley is considered to have the strongest leg in the NFL. He treats it much like a baseball pitcher treats his arm.
Moseley is the only straight-ahead or conventional kickers among the league leaders in either conference.
The advantage a soccer kicker has is that by approaching the hall from the side and winding up his leg, he can get his entire body into the kick, thus giving him more power.
Moseley, however, because he has worked with weights so much in the offseason, has built up his kicking leg so much that he has just as much power as the soccer kickers.
As a straight-ahead kicker he also has an advantage, especially now that the weather is getting bad.
"The soccer kickers have trouble on wet and frozen surfaces and they have to really change some things, because they have all their weight on one foot," Moseley said. "All I have to do on a bad surface is shorten my steps a bit and rely more on the strength of my leg."
In addition to winning the game Sunday, the Redskins beat New England in their opener by the margin fo a Moseley field goal and he scored all the Washington points in the 9-5 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth game of the season.
He has been the same after winning those games as he has been after every game.
"I don't gloat on games that I won because I sure didn't do it alone," he said. "I've been blessed with a good snapper and a good holder here."
Pardee said that Moseley "is just as valuable to us as a kickoff man as a field goal kicker."
Moseley says he has the strength to kick the ball into the end zone, but the Redskins would prefer a high kick to give the coverage team time to get downfield.
The goal on kickoffs is to make the other team start its drive from inside its own 30.