Blog Entry

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 5:24 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

The Washington Redskins hit an (arguable) low point when a botched extra point cost them a shot at overtime with the Buccaneers on Sunday. The answer to that, clearly, was an organizational facelift cutting punter Hunter Smith, who missed the hold on the play.

It was kind of a dumb move, frankly, because Smith shouldn't be holding the ball on kicks anyway -- that job should go to Rex Grossman. Since, you know, having a backup serve as something more than "rumor machine for Donovan McNabb" is generally a good idea. But Smith was holding and he botched the hold and now he's out of a job.

As he told SportsTalk (via Mike Jones at TBD), his release probably involved Mike Shanahan trying to send a message to his players and it' probably "political."

"I think after you play in the NFL long enough, you realize it's a very political institution," Smith says. "I don't write it off to politics, but someone does have to pay the price in because we would win, or possibly tie the game if I catch the ball."

Smith also wondered if he was a "scapegoat" for the Redskins loss, which certainly seems to be the case in this situation.

"In the NFL, there are a couple of different types of teams out there," Smith said. "There are some teams that display undying loyalty to their coaches and players, and other teams that tend to want to make a statement during a time of tragedy that's going on by making an example of somebody and partially blame them for the loss. I'm not saying the Redskins are like that, but I think in this sense, it does come down to that."

It's pretty obvious that it comes down to that -- the Redskins are losing, losing bad and no one in the D.C. area really cares for them right now.

Unfortunately for Shanahan and the current regime, simply putting a punter out on the street isn't going to do enough to cover up all the other problems with the organization right now. In fact, one could argue it simply accentuates the issues.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Mike Shanahan’s said Smith’s release had nothing to do with the botched PAT.

“I told Hunter, I said I admired the way he stepped up and blamed it on himself,” Shanahan said, according to the team’s website. “I said it was a combination of the snap and the hold, but Hunter's the type of guy that took full responsibility for it. 'For that,' I said, 'I was gonna keep you just for the way you handled yourself.’”

So why, then, was Smith dismissed?

"Over the last twenty punts I think he's had two that we'd consider the hangtime that we want," Shanahan said, "so that's why we'd make the change. It had nothing to do with the hold."

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Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:09 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Are you serious?? Let me ask you, what did Elway do without Shanahan??
Shanahan has THREE superbowls to his  credit.  He brought in TD, McCaffrey and the offensive line and the scheme to develop the offense we had in Denver for the two superbowls.
That system also got us to the AFC Championship in 2005 before Plummer had 4 turnovers that lost the game.
Ask yourself if Belichick could ever win a ring without Brady. Wow

Since: Dec 22, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:42 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Agreed. "Political reasons" implies something totally different than what actually went on. I thought I was about to read a story about this guy making an off-the-wall comment about Obama or Palin or whoever. That would have been a lot more entertaining. Oh well.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:31 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Not so easy to coach without John Elway, is it? Shanahan is a hack. He did nothing before Elway and TD and has done nothing since Elawy and TD. Easily the most overrated coach in the NFL, right ahead of John Fox and Jeff Fisher.

Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:28 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

None of this would have happened if we still had Ethan Albright. Our long-time Long Snapper was cut when Shanahan came aboard. The same long-time Long Snapper who has never botched a snap in 11 years as a Long Snapper.

Why did we cut him again?

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:15 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Virtually every team in football, pro and college, has the punter as the holder. Attack the practice all you want but to infer this is somehow unique to the Redskins is disingenuous. 

Not to defend the move but average kickers who miss important kicks late in games routinely get cut the next week. This is a little diffent but extremely high profile, again, not just a Redskins thing. Hunter Smith is 31st in the league, a full eight yards per punt behind the league leader. Not like he was taking the punting world by storm.

I know its easy to pile on the Redskins but lets not make mountains out of mole hills. There are plenty of mountains to focus on.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:15 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Yeah, if it was one mistake  it would be ridiculous.  But when you are arguably the worst punter in the NFL this year and you fumble an extra point hold that costs your team the game, I can see it.  Maybe the timing is political or to send a message, but the decision seems to be based on his performance throughout the year.

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:12 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

The Shanahan novelty is over.  What do you mean you didn't see it coming?.. Some things are inevitable.

Since: May 31, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:07 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

What is he, republican??  I dont understand the statement political reasons.  Was the guy discussing his take on the mid term elections at the training table??  YOu know you should never talk about politics or religion at work:)  The guy miss handled a snap that cost his team a shot at the game.  That sounds like performance reasons to me.   if indded it was to send a message that would fall under motivational tactics- i guess just because it was in Washington DC they had to tie it to politics:)

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2010 2:00 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

so when they fire Shanahan and cut McFlabb is that going to be political too?  bwahahahaha another failure in Washington and I'm not just talking about Obama!  Surprised

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 1:53 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

and this is why the redskins are one of the top 5 biggest jokes of a franchise in the professional sports...

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