John Hall's injury woes in 2006 were worse than originally believed and it is thought that offseason surgery will keep him on the field this year. Punter Derrick Frost stayed on the field, but his spotty performance last year has prompted the team to bring in a serious, if untested, challenger in David Lonie.
--Turns out the injuries that kept kicker John Hall out of 14 games the past two seasons were more serious than a pulled quad, a strained hamstring or an ailing groin. Hall had surgery in January to repair muscles that were detached from his pelvis and which apparently caused him to overcompensate on his right side, causing his series of injuries.
"It was a real relief because I've gotten better as a place-kicker and feel more confident the older I get, so it was a downer to be making steps forward mentally and then to take steps backward physically," Hall said. "Hopefully, I won't have to deal with that again. It was mainly the quad and then it started going to my groin. The last four weeks (of 2005) were a grind. I never want that to happen again but we were on such a great run, I (bore) down and did what I could."
Hall did enough to convert 12 of 14 field-goal attempts last year -- although he was just 2-for-4 beyond 38 yards during the final eight games (including playoffs). He's 44-for-58 in three seasons with the Redskins.
"John's a top-notch kicker in this league but to maintain that caliber of play, you have to be healthy so that's our whole objective with John," said special teams coach Danny Smith, who had Hall do very little during minicamp.
The Redskins have so much confidence in the 32-year-old Hall that they opted not to sign a proven rival for him in free agency. Hall's only competition will be street free agent Tyler Jones, who made 11 of 14 field-goal tries for Hamburg in NFL Europe this spring.
--Incumbent punter Derrick Frost faces a stiffer challenge from Australian David Lonie. Frost, whom Washington signed off waivers three games into last season, posted a 36.7-yard net average and placed 23 of his 76 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line. The Redskins were 20th in net punting average.
"We have to be in the top 10," Smith said. "Our (second-ranked) coverage is outstanding, but we need to punt the ball a little better. I'm anxious to see where we can bring Derrick to now that we've had him a whole year."
Frost hopes that punting only about half as much as usual during the offseason will make a difference.
"I'm trying to focus more this year on quality reps," Frost said. "The two years I've played, I've definitely gotten worn down late in the season."
--S Sean Taylor's legal woes aren't finished despite his guilty pleas to two misdemeanors last month stemming from a June 1, 2005 incident in Miami. He has been sued by a man who said that the free safety brandished a gun and repeatedly hit him during the altercation. Ryan Hill is seeking $15,000 in damages for medical expenses and lost wages he incurred because of the fight. Hill alleges that Taylor, who had gone in search of his missing all-terrain vehicles, punched him several times and called him a thief. Hill also claims Taylor returned and pointed an assault rifle at him.
Taylor's attorney, Richard Sharpstein, called the lawsuit "useless" and "ridiculous."