Shaun Suisham Cut, Unfairly Becomes Scapegoat for Redskins Loss vs. Saints

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2009

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 06:  Shaun Suisham #6 of the Washington Redskins reacts after missing a field goal putting the game into overtime against the New Orleans Saints on December 6, 2009 at FedExField in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

When the impossible happened on Sunday, the inevitable happened on Tuesday.

The Washington Redskins cut kicker Shaun Suisham and replaced him with Graham Gano.

It is a move seeded in irrationality, soaked in vengeance, and, almost equally as absurd, the perfect decision.

It’s irrational because Suisham is better than the next best option. He’s been an accurate NFL kicker with the Redskins for the past three seasons. In 49 games with the Redskins, he’s made 80 percent of his field goals (72-of-90). His 23-yard miss on Sunday was the first miss of his NFL career from 20-29 yards.

Shaun Suisham has cost the Redskins two wins in their last three games. In a 7-6 loss to the Cowboys, he missed two field goals. And then there were the Saints.

So the Redskins had to exact revenge and cut Suisham.

The problem with kickers is that their effectiveness is buttressed by a fragile trait: confidence.

It’s how Mike Vanderjagt went from being one of the best kickers in the NFL to out of the league in less than two seasons. Suisham was 13-for-13 earlier this year, but none of those kicks were under immense pressure. In the Cowboys game, he started to fold under pressure, and Sunday’s miss completed the collapse.

With Suisham gone, the scapegoat for a game given away, it’s all lollipops and sunshine, right?

The Redskins had four chances to beat the Saints in the final two minutes and overtime. Suisham only screwed up one of those chances, albeit the best chance at victory.

After Suisham missed, Drew Brees still had to drive 80 yards in 1:50 with no timeouts. It’s unlikely that the Redskins stop them here, but certainly possible. Give LaRon Landry some of the blame.

Each of the last three weeks, Jason Campbell has had a chance to take the team on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes. The noodle he threw up to Jonathan Vilma makes him 0-for-3. The Redskins had just moved into Saints territory and could have given Suisham a chance at redemption.

Of all the progress Campbell has shown the last month, he hasn’t mastered the two-minute offense, a glaring omission on his résumé. Give Campbell some of the blame too.

The Redskins won the toss in overtime, finally another chance, which was promptly blown by Mike Sellers’ fumble. Sellers has been struggling so much with his blocking out of the backfield that most of the time he just lines up at tight end. Give Sellers some of the blame too.

There are always others to blame, but someone has to take the fall. As with any monumental disaster, there’s always a scapegoat that, whether it’s right or wrong, makes us feel better.

It allows us to match a face with failure.


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