Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tripping On Their Own Feet: Durant Brooks

When trading an underperforming veteran for a rookie and the rookie doesn't work out

Durant is on the way out, Ryan Plackemeier is in. Durant's punting has been pretty bad, something the everyone noticed even as the Redskins were winning. As such most fans not at the home games were not really registering. Now that the Redskins finally lost a game it is highlighted.

After a three and out with 2:38 left in the third quarter, the second punt in as many drives in the second half and the Redskins trailing the Rams 13-7, Durant busts out with a 26 yard out of bounds punt on fourth and 12 from the Redskins seven yard line. The Rams got the ball back on the Washington 33 yard line, on first down it would have been a 51 yard field goal. The Rams moved seven yards on three plays, a three and out and St. Louis kicker Josh Brown had a 44 yard field goal to put the Rams up by nine. The Redskins lost by two.

Durant is currently 33rd in the league in average punt and 33rd in net average. It is worth noting that the spread from first to worst is 12 yards per punt in the first and 11 yards per punt in the second. For every one Durant boomed there were at least two that were weak.

Durant was a sixth round draft pick in April, he was the only punter taken in the draft. When Durant won the punting (and holding) job over Derrick Frost at the end of camp, in Derrick's parting words was the notion solidified that all of Vinny Cerrato's first undisputed draft picks were going to make the roster, whether it was good for the team or not.

As long as the team was winning there was time to work with Durant and hope for him to get better and now in a loss, six games into the season there was nowhere else to go, a change has to be made.

And yet for this team even the act of releasing the punter and finding another cannot be accomplished with one voice, there always has to be someone speaking out the side of their organizational mouth.

Yesterday, Monday morning on his radio show which I do not listen to because I have Sirius NFL Radio, shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato said Durant Brooks had hip and quadriceps injuries and that the Redskins would have a new punter Sunday against the Browns.

Later in the day coach Jim Zorn had his usual post game press conference and he was not so quick to dismiss Durant, either as a result of injury or performance though coach Zorn did say Durant was going to face challengers this week as a result specifically of his performance and not because of injury, and further stated that Vinny's comments were a based on Durant's injury status.

Confused yet? See any contradictions in there? Here is shorter Redskins: hamstrung Vinny, unable to say what he really means in professional life, not less on his radio show, has to toe the company line, which is still that the Redskins 2008 draft was a thing of perfection and that the only thing that can screw it up is injuries, not performance, no not Durant's crappy punting, not Malcolm Kelly's injuries that have lingered since July and threaten to put him on injured reserve and soon.

Coach on the other hand wants to keep it real, that Durant's time to defend his position has come and it is now and that the percentages steeply favor his being released from the team.

Considering how great Durant was in college, how tempting he must have been in college, how relatively weak Derrick Frost was last season and now how likely it is Durant will be released, how close the punting competition was in preseason and the how tightly the shroud of fake perfection and real lack of performance at key positions that wraps this draft, I would say this is a botch through the five hole. Should have stuck with Derrick and used the pick elsewhere, or brought in another punter, perhaps even one of these guys coming in now, to challenge Derrick... and used the pick elsewhere.

Funny, Ryan Plackemeier was cut by coach Zorn's old team the Seahawks after their season opening loss to the Bills, Ryan had managed a 30 yard net on 11 punts in that game. Even Durant is doing better than that.

Durant Brooks getting what for from Jim Zorn: Toni L. Sandys / Washington Post from here.