Redskins veteran punter Sav Rocca said that he completed rehab from offseason knee surgery and is feeling good.
Rocca, who played through much of last season with a torn right meniscus and had surgery to repair his knee on January 17, blasted punts up and down the Redskins Park practice fields during Organized Team Activities on Thursday.
“It’s all feeling good,” Rocca said. “I’m punting as much as I want.”
Distance and height have been the same in OTAs as they were last season, Rocca said.
During his six years punting in the NFL, including two seasons with the Redskins and four with the Philadelphia Eagles, Rocca has averaged about 43 yards per punt.
Last season, playing with the hurt knee, Rocca’s kicks traveled almost 44 yards, the highest average of his career. He also put two balls into the end zone for touchbacks.
In recent years, much of the focus for punters has shifted to placing the ball inside the opponent’s 20-yard-line, or even better inside the 10-yard-line.
Rocca placed the ball within 20 yards of the opposing goal line 22 times last season, tied for 22nd in the league. The NFL’s best punter, Dave Zastudil of the Arizona Cardinals, landed 46 kicks in the desired area.
Zastudil’s stats skew the results a bit, considering he punted 112 times for a sputtering Cardinals offense. Rocca punted 44 fewer times for the Skins.
Fans seem to like that Rocca plays unafraid to make a hit, unlike some other punters in the league. The Australian native, who played Aussie Rules Football, looks more like a linebacker than he does a kicking specialist, standing 6’5” and weighing 263 lbs.
Though he will turn 40 in November, Rocca signed a two-year deal with the Redskins in January to keep playing with the team.
The contract will have Rocca playing as a 41-year-old, but that should be no surprise considering Rocca became the NFL’s oldest ever rookie breaking in as a 33-year-old with the Eagles in 2007.
Not only will Rocca deal with the after effects of knee surgery, the Redskins also hired a new special teams coach this season.
Keith Burns, formerly of the Denver Broncos, took over Redskins specials for the departed Danny Smith.
“It’s been good. We're in the early stages now,” Rocca said of the coaching change.
“We’re just coming to grips, learning what he brings to the table. By the end of training camp we’ll have that down.”
Rocca works closest with long snapper Nick Sundberg. Sundberg tweeted some pictures of the two working during OTAs. It's a unique angle few fans get to see.
It appears the Skins have found continuity with their specialists, bring back Rocca, Sundberg and kicker Kai Forbath from last season's NFC East title campaign.
Working with Burns presents a new challenge, as does coming back from knee surgery, but according to Rocca, everything feels good.