Monday, August 03, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: The sweetest Mutterings on earth

Owen Wilson? Nope, just Redskins' K Shaun Suisham

Send a link to a friend

[August 03, 2009]  ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Sitting in an ice tub after practice, the NFL's most off-target kicker in 2008 was keeping his usual cool. The topics of conversation: his reputation as the quietest player on the Washington Redskins roster and his new Hollywood nickname.

"Do you think I'm quiet?" Shaun Suisham said to defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery, who was sharing the tub.

"You're not quiet at all. Just laid-back," Montgomery answered. "Relaxed. Owen Wilson."

Owen Wilson? Yep, that's what some teammates are calling Suisham these days -- because Montgomery thinks the Canadian kicker sounds like the actor from Texas.

"I was sitting home watching 'Marley & Me,'" said Montgomery, snapping his head as if he were doing a double take. "And I said, 'Is Suisham in there or something?'"

"I'll take what I can get," Suisham replied with a shrug.


The 27-year-old Ontario native was called some less flattering things a year ago -- inaccurate and inconsistent, to name a few -- during a season in which he led the league in missed field goals. He made 26 of 36 attempts, a 72 percent accuracy rate that ranked last among kickers with more than 10 attempts.

The Redskins re-signed him, but, unlike last year, they brought in some competition for training camp. Dave Rayner, who has played with five teams in four NFL seasons, will get a shot to dethrone the incumbent. Along with right tackle and No. 2 receiver, it's expected to be one of the most competitive position battles during the preseason.

"It's something that I'm anxious about myself," special teams coach Danny Smith said. "It is going to be a competition. It's not an old guy that's established taking on a young guy, it's not another leg in camp and those kind of things. We made a decision on the long snapper (Ethan Albright), we made a decision on the punter (Hunter Smith), but we're far from making a decision on the kicking."

Suisham seemed unfazed when he was helping win games early last season and never looked rattled when he hit his wayward patch, so it's not surprising to hear him take his latest challenge in stride.

"I'm not even going to talk about last year," Suisham said, "but I don't feel as bad as maybe some people about it. I feel like I'm a good kicker and I'm looking forward to this upcoming season. Dave seems like a nice guy. He's been with a lot of teams, and he's still around. Obviously he's got talent. But to me this boils down to me concentrating on my thing and making my kicks, and I don't anticipate going anywhere."

Suisham's mitigating factor last year was the team's revolving door of holders -- Derrick Frost, Durant Brooks and Ryan Plackemeier -- because the Redskins couldn't settle on a punter. That problem was addressed in the offseason with the addition of Hunter Smith, who held for prolific kickers Mike Vanderjagt and Adam Vinatieri with the Indianapolis Colts and therefore, according to Danny Smith, "might be the best holder in the history of the game."

"It's a big factor," Danny Smith said. "When you change holders in the course of a season and you're being successful, there's not a lot of attention to that. But when you're struggling and you switch, it's magnified -- and then it's magnified in your mind, too."

Suisham and Rayner have had tons of idle time during the first few days of training camp while the offense and defense work through the schemes, so the competition has yet to get under way. The winner, according to Danny Smith, will be the one who kicks better during the preseason games.

[to top of second column]

Funeral Director

"My hardest job is going to be how to be fair in a game," the coach said. "I don't know how we're going to do that. Some of the things I go through at night to myself: 'Do I give you the first game and give him the second game?' Is that fair? Well, it might be. You got three 20-yarders; he got three 40-yarders. That really isn't fair."

Suisham is the solid favorite to keep the job. He had very good seasons -- making 82 percent of his attempts in 2006 and 83 percent in 2007 -- before last year's misadventures. Rayner's career average is only 71 percent, and his only full season with one team came with the Green Bay Packers in 2006.

"It's all timing," Rayner said. "It's all about being in the right place at the right time. I feel good about being here."

But so does Suisham. It took a while for teammates to get used to his low-key personality, but now he fits right in.

"Just put it between the uprights, Suisham," Montgomery said from the other half of the tub.

"You," Suisham shot back, "just make some tackles."


NOTES: DT Albert Haynesworth was limited in the afternoon practice after getting an injection to help cushion his left knee, which he sprained late last season with the Tennessee Titans. Coach Jim Zorn called the injection a "normal" treatment and that the big-money free agent would be fine. ... WR Roydell Williams was awaiting X-ray results after hurting his left pinkie while attempting to catch a pass during the morning practice. ... CB Carlos Rogers missed his second straight day with a strained calf. Also limited were FB Eddie Williams (hamstring), DL J.D. Skolnitsky (hamstring) and DT Montgomery (swollen knee).

[Associated Press; By JOSEPH WHITE]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Sports index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor