During the free agent signing flurry that followed the lockout in late July-early August, the Redskins made an under-the-radar move by adding veteran punter Sav Rocca.
It may have been one of their best moves.
Entering Sundays game at Seattle, the near-weekly struggles of the offense have meant plenty of opportunities for Rocca and hes generally delivered so much that he has to be considered one of the Redskins most valuable players.
Punting 44 times, Roccas 41.3-yard net average (distance of punt minus return yardage) ranks fourth in the NFL and his 20 kicks inside the 20-yard line are tied for second.
His bad punts are what we used to consider good punts, said eighth-year special teams coach Danny Smith.
Danny isnt far off.
Check out the net averages the previous five years: 33.7, 36.1, 33.4, 36.4 and 36.7.
Rocca is having his best season his previous full-season best net average was 39.0 yards last year.
Anytime you get a guy who can turn the field consistently and kick inside the 20 as much as he has ... hes playing at a Pro Bowl level, coach Mike Shanahan said. Hes as good as Ive ever been around. Much better than expected.
Not only has Rocca boomed some punts, his hang time has been good enough to let his coverage team get down the field. The Redskins rank ninth in punt coverage. Last week against Dallas, Rocca had hang times of 4.34, 4.65, 3.47, 4.53 and 3.87 seconds. The Cowboys started inside their own 22-yard line on three of those punts.
Hes top of the line, Smith said. He has everything, he really does. We send a pretty good coverage group down there and when you have that combination, you should be pretty good and its showed.
The former Australian Rules Football player turned 38 on Monday and has been in the United States only five years. Yet, Smith said: He really knows the game and takes a lot of pride in it. Thats the biggest surprise to me. The guys a winner and hes a leader.
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