Grading the special teams: Blocked punts big issue

Grading the special teams: Blocked punts big issue
September 18, 2012, 5:16 pm
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Special teamsGrade vs. Rams: C-Comment:The big concern entering Sundays game was whether long snapper Justin Snow would find a rhythm with holder Sav Rocca and kicker Billy Cundiff after signing in Washington on Tuesday.As it turned out, the Redskins field goal operation was the least of the unit's problems at Edward Jones Dome. It was the punt team again.For the second consecutive week, Rocca had a punt blocked and the opposing team promptly parlayed the miscue into a touchdown. Facing a fourth and six at the Washington 24, Rocca received a perfect snap and, by the time he looked up, Matthew Mulligan already was in his face. Four plays later, the Rams had a 31-28 lead they would not relinquish.Its not like the 6 foot 4, 265-pound Mulligan used an elite burst of speed, outmuscled a lineman, raced around the corner, laid out and got a finger on the ball. He came right up the middle and stuffed Roccas attempt.Just like New Orleans Martez Wilson seven days before.The blocked punts, of course, come a season after the Redskins had five field goal attempts knocked down.So what the heck is going on, Coach?Last year, if you take a look at the blocked field goals, we lost a number of offensive linemen, Mike Shanahan said Monday. In every scenario, theres a different person at fault. You just keep on working to eliminate those problems. What happened in St. Louis is what I told you after the game some person was more concerned with coverage than they were with protection, and all of a sudden, you take off to quick and theres another mistake.Shanahan went out of his way to not name the player(s) at fault. But youve got to wonder whether Shanahans patience is also running short with popular special teams coach Danny Smith.The only reason special teams did not receive a failing grade is Cundiffs continued execution on kickoffs. Four of his five kickoffs Sunday resulted in a touchback.