Mark Moseley cast a long shadow over the lush green grass of Redskin Park at sunset last night.
The third day of the Washington Redskins' unprecedented springtime kicking competition was ending, and it was Moseley, 38 and now annually challenged, who was doing better than anyone else.
He outkicked the six men who want his job yesterday, making 16 of his 20 field goals. Rocky Costello, who has been cut by two National Football League teams in two years, made 15. Three more made 14: veteran punter Steve Cox, free agent Paul Woodside and Maryland's Jess Atkinson.
Atkinson, who looks like a safe bet to return to this team in July, further distinguished himself when a short field-goal attempt from 51 yards thudded against Dave Butz's leg as the veteran defensive tackle sat under the goalpost, spectating.
Moseley, who says the constant competition he receives doesn't bother him a bit, has made 47 of the 60 field goals he has tried in the last three days. Cox and Atkinson, who played on three NFL teams last season, have made 46.
"I'm real satisfied with the three guys with NFL experience," said special teams coach Wayne Sevier, the master of ceremonies of the kicking show.
Costello is right behind with 45, followed by Jim Asmus, a former Denver Gold kicker in the U.S. Football League, with 42; Woodside has 41 and free agent Steve Willis a disappointing 31.
Moseley, who finished last season by missing eight of his last 15 field-goal attempts, has seen all this somewhere before. In 1982, there was Danny Miller. In 1985, it was Tony Zendejas. Now, it's not one man, but six.
"This is nothing new," he said with a sigh. "This is par for the course for me these days. That's okay. I like competition."
Place kicker is the only position at which cuts will be made after this week, the only place where minicamp means the sideline or the soup line. The Redskins would like to take no more than four kickers to training camp, three if the numbers easily separate the kickers.
The kickers come out as practice is ending. Moseley walks around in his stocking feet. He reads the paper. He does a TV interview.
Cox, last year's punter and kickoff specialist who is this year's utility man, wanders out to practice and talks to his teammates.
The other five are alone, trudging out of the locker room one-by-one. Atkinson tosses some grass shavings into the air, the way you see Jack Nicklaus do it to test the wind off the 17th tee.
Some run, some stretch, some hold for others as they practice kicks. "You wait a day for the most important 20 minutes of your life," said Costello.
Cox is in an interesting position. He could make the team as the field goal kicker, the kickoff man or the punter. Or he could not make it at all. Talk about your identity crises.
"Will I be the punter? Will I be the kicker? As long as I'm Steve Cox, the Washington Redskin, I don't care," he said.
He only imagines the pressure some of the younger kickers are under, players who have bounced from team to team and tryout to tryout, hoping this is the team that will send them a regular paycheck.
"You could make or break yourself in two days," Cox said. "That's what is so amazing about this. One day, things are good. The next, things are bad. It's an awful lot to put on your mind."
It's no secret there are those within the Redskins organization who would prefer to see a different player kicking field goals this fall.
Moseley has been here since 1974. He and Cox are the last of the straight-on kickers. "Dinosaurs," Sevier laughingly calls them. That dates Moseley. Plus, his performance last season disappointed some of his bosses, and he knows it.
This spring, the Redskins mustered every healthy, hopeful kicking leg they could to challenge Moseley's. That they asked Moseley to come to minicamp and kick was new and different. In years past, he showed up for a physical and a few laps around the field.
So what does he do? Well into the battle of the feet, he is winning it.