Because NFL kickers are in the news right now, with some analysts even proposing to abolish the kicking game altogether, Redskins great Mark Moseley requested a chance this week to speak on behalf of those kickers on 106.7 The Fan. So Moseley indeed called into the LaVar and Dukes show on Monday afternoon, defending the continued importance of kickers, and of special teamers more generally. And along the way, he talked about how much special teams meant to the Redskins teams of the ’70s and ’80s.
“Guys took special teams serious back then,” the former NFL MVP said. “Our goal was to make sure that special teams was the key. That’s what got everybody fired up. Matter of fact, the whole team used to come into our special teams [room], when our coach would give our pep talk, and listen to our coach give the pep talk. Because when we left there, guys were ready. That’s why we wanted to kick off first; we could go down and kind of start the game off on the right foot. So we took a lot of pride in those special teams.”
Which sort of brought the discussion around to the 2013 Redskins special teams, which didn’t necessarily engender a lot of pride, all in all, other than “pride in who could make the best joke about the special teams.”
“Oh, I was embarrassed,” Moseley said. “I was embarrassed. And I talked to a lot of my old teammates that used to play special teams with [the Redskins]; they all said the same thing. They were really embarrassed. It was unbelievable, some of the things that we saw happening out there. It just didn’t make sense, that you could have a professional football team with special teams making the mistakes and doing some of the crazy things that they were doing out there. Breaking down, not staying in their lanes, not taking on the blocks, [not] feeling the pressure coming from one side or the other. Just little things, things that you learn when you’re in high school. And a lot of them acted like they’ve never even played special teams before.”
That’s … not a positive review.
Anyhow, Moseley obviously thinks special teams and place kicking still belong in the NFL; that they have the opportunity to influence most NFL games; that they can separate championship teams from pretenders; and that kickers are athletes, too.
“I consider myself an athlete,” he said. “I still have state records in the state of Texas for rushing the football. I was an all-state middle linebacker and running back. I’m 65 years old and I work out every day; I run at least six or seven miles every day and I do at least three or four hundred sit-ups and push-ups every day. I do everything I can to stay in shape and be an athlete…..
“We always participated [in Redskins practices],” Moseley went on. “Both myself and Mike Bragg, who was our punter, always filled in when we were running offense or defense on the scout team. I was the scout quarterback for years on the Redskins; I was even the third-team quarterback when George Allen was the coach here. And I had to go in and study film and would run the opposing team’s plays for our scout teams. I agree, that’s not the norm. It’s just that I happened to come along at a time when most of your kickers were a position player. Most of your kickers back then were either offensive guards or tackles; they played other positions and the kicking wasn’t as important back then as it is now. I came along in that transition time when it began to become a big part of the game, which was fortunate for me, because it put me in positions to do the things that I was able to do when I played to get me the notoriety as a kicker. That’s what I kind of take pride in: I was able to do things that helped the Washington Redskins win championships.”