The Washington Post

Mike Shanahan unsure of Redskins’ next move at kicker

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan expressed disappointment Sunday in kicker Billy Cundiff, who missed a 31-yard field goal for a second consecutive week. Shanahan said immediately after Washington’s 24-17 loss to Atlanta that he didn’t know what the Redskins would do about their kicking position. The coach said that he wanted to wait until tomorrow to make a decision.

Billy Cundiff Redskins place kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 31-yard field goal attempt Sunday a week after missing three other attempts. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

Cundiff missed a 31-yard field goal that would have given the Redskins a 10-0 second quarter lead. Last week, he missed a 41-yarder, a 57-yarder and 31-yarder against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before making a 41-yard attempt to win the game with three seconds on the clock.

The Redskins last week chose not to work out any kickers, hoping that Cundiff – who was signed Aug. 28 after Washington released dueling preseason kickers Neil Rackers and Graham Gano – could regroup and kick with more consistency.

 But Cundiff sent his first attempt of the game wide right.

 “It’d be much easier to keep it brief,” Cundiff said when asked what happened on his latest miss. “I don’t see any reason to go into extreme detail. It was just a miss. I think it’s a kick I should make. It was a makeable kick. I just didn’t hit it.”

 Said Shanahan: “I’m disappointed, especially when it’s a chip shot in there. What was it, the 13-yard line? Something in that range. That’s always disappointing when you have a chance to get a little momentum going, especially at that time of the game.”

 Washington had started at its own 32-yard line with 4:55 left in the half thanks to a fumble recovery by linebacker Perry Riley. The offense put together a 55-yard drive that featured a 20-yard catch by running back Alfred Morris and a 29-yard run by the rookie. The drive stalled at the 13-yard line, and then Cundiff missed, giving the ball to Atlanta with 2:16 left on the clock.

 Atlanta marched downfield and scored to tie the game, 7-7, at halftime.

 Fans booed Cundiff as he came back onto the field to practice field goals before the start of the third quarter. Asked if he noticed, Cundiff said, “I heard a lot of other things, too, but I can’t repeat those. That’s just how it goes. It happens.”

 The Redskins opened training camp with Gano, who was entering his third full NFL season, and Rackers, a 13th-year veteran, competing for the kicking duties. Neither got many opportunities during preseason games, but went head-to-head in practices. Washington believed that Cundiff, who was released by Baltimore on Aug. 26th, was a more consistent option than either and signed him despite not working him out.

 Asked Sunday evening whether the Redskins would work out kickers this week, Shanahan said, “I’m not sure what we’ll do. I never say anything right after a game. You let 24 hours go by and collect your thoughts and make decisions on what you think gives you the best chance to win.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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