Redskins Special Teams Coach Danny Smith Is a Keeper, No Matter What
Who saw this coming?
At roughly the midway point of the season the race for team MVP is a dead heat between punter Hunter Smith and kicker Shaun Suisham.
Hunter Smith has more touchdowns than Clinton Portis!
Shaun Suisham has made every field goal he has attempted this year (he missed ten last season and his percentage was the worst in the league).
The punt- and kickoff-coverage units remain near the top of the league statistically and Rock Cartwright has been very solid on kickoff returns.
If the Skins could get a punt returner to run north-south instead of east-west there would be nothing to complain about.
Watching Hunter Smith's deep spiral Sunday, that quite frankly looked better than most of Jason Campbell's bombs this year, confirmed a belief that has been growing among football experts for some time.
Danny Smith is one of the elite special teams coaches in the NFL!
Smith is the common thread that unites this unit. He is the driving motivational force and a source of positive enthusiasm on the Redskins sidelines.
Smith has persevered through adversity and kept his unit performing well.
When Hunter Smith was injured early in the season it was Danny Smith who put his trust in the leg of Shaun Suisham. Suisham then turned in a valiant performance in spot duty, including a downed punt inside the 20-yard line to help preserve a win late in the game.
In fact, it was Danny Smith who put his support behind Suisham after an intense kicker roster-battle during the preseason. Suisham has rewarded Smith's faith by being perfect so far in field goal attempts.
His kickoffs (with the exception of two out-of-bounds kickoffs Sunday) have even improved. Last season they barely reached the five-yard line. Now they quite often make it to the end zone.
After last season's punter debacle the Redskins aggressively pursued free agent Smith. When healthy, Smith has lived up to the hype with his solid kicking and trick-play skill set.
However, injuries have limited his playing time. Despite using four different punters this season, Danny Smith has kept this unit functioning at a consistently high level.
His game savvy has been evident in game management situations as well. It was Danny Smith, not defensive coordinator Greg Blatche, who ran down the sidelines earlier this year to keep coach Jim Zorn from making a bone-headed decision during a late game situation.
This victory was a well needed respite for the Washington Redskins. But it is not a cure all. Most likely there will be many coaching changes taking place at the end of the season.
But if the Redskins management has any sense (and I stress the word if) the first coach that they bring back will be Danny Smith. He would be a real asset in any organization, and if he is let go he won't go more than a week before he finds a new employer.
Redskins Nation is crying for change. This is one area where change is not needed.
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