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Hall Hopes to Elevate the Kicking Game


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http://www.redskins.com/story.asp?ContentID=11722

Hall Hopes to Elevate the Kicking Game

05/28/2003

By Steve Butchock

Redskins Insider Associate Editor

The Redskins have struggled with consistency in their kicking game since the day Chip Lohmiller was a surprise cut during training camp in 1995. In the years after Lohmiller was released, many kickers were given opportunities in Washington, but none produced well enough to elevate the kicking game to a consistent level.

Entering the 2003 season, the Redskins hope they have put to rest their kicking troubles. The renewed optimism about the kicking game stems from the team’s off-season acquisition of John Hall, whom the Redskins added early in free agency from the New York Jets.

Hall, 6-3 and 220 pounds, is a proven kicker who fared well in his six seasons with the Jets. Washington hopes he will be able to steady the shakiness that has beset the Redskins' kicking game in recent seasons.

"He's a long kicker, a guy who's got a reputation for being a kickoff guy as well as an accurate field goal kicker. That's a great combination," special teams coach Mike Stock said at the team's post-draft mini-camp in early May. "Plus, if we get in a pinch, he's been a punter in his career, at Wisconsin. He had to do some things at the Jets when someone went down, got hurt or sick. So, he's a triple threat."

Hall's consistency and toughness in pressure situatons have lifted him into the upper echelon of kickers in the NFL. At age 29, Hall already has made seven game-winning field goals. And his accuracy and leg strength are such that he feels confident each time he goes onto the field. Field goals from 55 yards realistically are within his range.

He has converted 149-of-203 field goals in his career (73 percent). Some of those attempts came in the unpredictable wind often prevalent in Giants Stadium. He has converted 205-of-210 PATs.

On field goals, Hall has been successful from 55 yards during the regular season and 60 yards in the preseason. At Wisconsin, he hit a school-record 60-yard field goal.

Besides FGs and PATs, Hall delivers on kickoffs, which has been a frustrating part of special teams play for the Redskins in recent years. His long, well-placed kickoffs helped the Jets' defense to rank among the NFL's top teams in terms of favorable field position.

"I don't know what the circumstances were in the past here," Hall said. "I'm not going to do anything special. I'm not a miracle maker. I'm here to do a job and do the best that I can. I'll try to bring some stability to that part of the game. The bottom line is we want to get somewhere. We're going to work our butts off to get there."

Coming out of Port Charlotte (Fla.) High School, Hall did not suspect that someday he would be a quality NFL kicker. Neither did he foresee, at the conclusion of his high school career, that he would eventually play at the University of Wisconsin.

"I played linebacker and wide receiver in high school. I wasn't very good at kicking. I really wasn't recruited too highly as a kicker," Hall explained. "Someone came and worked me out after my season was over in high school. I was well rested, not injured or anything. Not so beat up. I had a good workout and they told me to come there."

At Wisconsin, Hall was redshirted as a freshman. Then, through initiative and dedication, he earned the job as the team's kicker. He finished his college career as the Badgers' fifth leading scorer with 186 career points.

The Jets, unlike the Redskins, were a playoff team last season. Yet, Hall opten to leave the Jets to sign with the Redskins.

"It's just a situation that I thought was good for me," Hall said. "I came down here and everyone treated me well. It seems like I was accepted and they wanted me to be here. It's always tough to leave.

"I have a lot of friends up there. Herm Edwards, all of the coaches and the whole organization was good to me for six years. But, sometimes you just have to make a move."

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"He's a long kicker, a guy who's got a reputation for being a kickoff guy as well as an accurate field goal kicker. That's a great combination," special teams coach Mike Stock said at the team's post-draft mini-camp in early May.

Besides FGs and PATs, Hall delivers on kickoffs, which has been a frustrating part of special teams play for the Redskins in recent years. His long, well-placed kickoffs helped the Jets' defense to rank among the NFL's top teams in terms of favorable field position.

I've already commented on Hall's strengths and weaknesses as a kicker (below), but these quotes really caught my eye. Is ranking 22nd in touchback percentage (6%) really the hallmark of a solid kickoff guy?

http://www.extremeskins.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=26942

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They said at the time he lost his fire and became somewhat disinterested in kicking. Lost his passion for the game. The cut was a surprise, he was picked up fairly quickly, but then was out of the league within a year or two after that.

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I'm pretty sure that anything will be better than the Conway-Tuthill-Cortez-(am I missing anyone?) debacle that we had kicker last year. I'm surprised Spurrier didn't go out there and take of the kicking himself, probably would've had better results.

And seeing Chip mentioned brought back some good memories....ahhh 1991....

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Hall is vetter than what we had, but my concerns are his dwindling numbers. His KO's used to be over 80 yards, they are now in the 70's, his TB his rookie year was 29 Tbs, then 20, 12, 9, 9, and now 5, a continuation of dwindling numbers. He has missed five career extra points, two being last season. Hopefully a new location, a new energy will engulf Hall and provide stability here for the next five seasons.

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I watched last year's season opener against Arizona lastnight. That Wuerffel kickoff is one of the funniest events I've seen in a Redskins' game. Spurrier's reaction is just as comical; first he skakes his head in disbelief and then slams his clipboard on the ground. Honestly, I don't think our kicking game will ever reach those depths again.

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Lohmiller, as I recall, belonged to a very wealthy family and never had to work a day in his life (hence the hottie girlfriend). He was blessed with a strong, accurate leg and thus had one of the greatest imaginable hobbies: playing a non-contact position on a Super Bowl team for one of the greatest coaches of all time. When the skills eroded a bit, Chip had no reason to gut it thru several seasons of declining skills. The pool and teeny bikinis must have been more inviting :D .

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