- The Washington Times - Monday, September 1, 2008

The punting battle between rookie Durant Brooks and Derrick Frost came down to hang time and consistency. Frost never proved he could deliver either to the satisfaction of the Washington Redskins, and the three-year incumbent lost his job to Brooks as a result.

“It was based on the last three years that Frost was here … on Durant and competition this year and … what we’ve seen in Durant and his continued improvement,” coach Jim Zorn said Sunday.

Brooks, the nation’s top punter as a senior at Georgia Tech in 2007, admitted he was worried about making the cut.

“It was really tough,” said Brooks, who had a better net average and hang time than Frost during preseason. “It helped me to mature quickly. Offense and defense can have a good play after a bad play. It’s hard to come back from a bad punt. Saturday, I was tired of waiting around [to learn the news], so I came to get a workout in and found out that way.”

Zorn said the sixth-round draft pick shined Sunday, his first day as the Redskins’ punter.

“Did you see any of his punts today?” Zorn said. “Pretty awesome. I don’t know if it made a difference knowing he was the guy. But he has to do it in a game, no question.”

Fincher, Hamilton happy

Neither linebacker Alfred Fincher nor safety Justin Hamilton were even on the Redskins’ roster as recently as July 30, but both made the 53-man roster with strong preseason performances.

Both players have been cut before, however, so they know their spots on the roster are far from secure.

“I’m really excited to be here, but I’m only a little bit stress-free,” said Fincher, who played his first three seasons with the New Orleans Saints and was cut by the Detroit Lions in July. “If they have numbers at your position, playing well might not matter.”

The versatile Fincher played middle linebacker at Connecticut, weakside linebacker with the Saints and primarily on the strong side for the Redskins.

Hamilton, a seventh-round pick by the Browns in 2006 out of Virginia Tech, was cut by the Redskins on June 12. And Hamilton was surprised when the club re-signed him Aug. 7.

“I felt I had pretty much done all I could do, but there are a lot of guys they can bring in to play special teams and be a backup,” Hamilton said. “I know if you don’t produce, you don’t stay, so I’ve got to produce.”

Taylor likely out

Zorn said defensive end Jason Taylor, who sprained a knee Aug. 23 against the Carolina Panthers, probably won’t play in the season opener Thursday against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Rookie receiver Malcolm Kelly, whose recently repaired knee swelled last week, definitely won’t play. Taylor and Kelly were the only players who didn’t practice Sunday. Receiver Antwaan Randle El has a broken bone in his left hand but will play.

Seven to practice squad

Seven of the 22 players cut Saturday were signed to the practice squad Sunday. The list: cornerbacks Byron Westbrook and Matterral Richardson, fullback Nehemiah Broughton, offensive linemen Devin Clark and Andrew Crummey, receiver Horace Gant and linebacker Curtis Gatewood.

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