During his decade with the Indianapolis Colts, Hunter Smith punted nine times or more in just one of 175 regular-season and playoff games.
It took Smith just one preseason game with the Washington Redskins to experience the difference that comes with punting for the relatively offensively challenged Redskins. Smith punted nine times in Thursday’s 23-0 loss at Baltimore, averaging 45.2 yards gross and 37.1 net.
“I don’t like to punt that much because it means we’re not moving the ball, but at the same time, it’s preseason. It’s time to get in my work, and I welcome the reps,” the 32-year-old said.
Special teams coach Danny Smith, who has raved about his new punter for months, noted a slow start (averaging 42.5 gross and 35.5 net on the first two kicks) but said, “Then he showed what kind of punter he was the rest of the game.”
Smith boomed four of his final seven punts at least 51 yards. Two of the other three were downed for no return.
“I thought it was OK - about like a first outing should go,” Smith said. “I hit some good balls. I hit some not-so-great balls.”
Hall, Mitchell square off
A scuffle between cornerback DeAngelo Hall and rookie receiver Marko Mitchell was the highlight of Sunday’s morning practice.
“It’s hot,” Hall said. “We’re a little testy. Push came to shove, shove came to push and before you know it there were punches.”
Hall said he didn’t know what started the fight, but Mitchell owned up to it.
“I was holding D-Hall a little bit, and he got a little frustrated,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell, a seventh-round choice, wasn’t going to back down to a two-time Pro Bowl player.
“I hear people feel that… a lot of times a rookie will back off, get a little scared,” Mitchell said. “I think he was just testing to see if I have some fight in me.”
Hall said he was glad the rookie fought back.
“I hope he stands up and fights,” Hall said.