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: Dec 4, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:34 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Could be that he wasn't a good punter. He was actually one of if not the worst punter in the league this season.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:23 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

I blame Hunter for the clock management at the end of the first half also. 

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:08 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Is funny because the redskins were 4-12 last year. They made sophomore coach Jim Zorn a scapegoat. Jim Zorn did fairly well with the players he had in his first season, and he went to 8-8. But his players gave up including Portis and Moss. Randle was awful at punt return, he dropped every pass Jason Campell could pass to him. To make simply short the redskins had an awful team but Jim Zorn overachieved his first year as a coach when he went 8-8. The only reason why the redskins went 9-7 the previous year was because Sean Taylor has passed away, and it was going to be Joe Gibbs last year. They played for Sean Taylor not accounting Jason campbell was benched. Last year when the skins went 4-12 their true form showed and it was not Jim Zorn, and clearly i am not going to see is Mike Sheehan fault. It is the owner fault, he signs big time contract players but they dont produce.The redskins has been a below average club since 1993 and they have averaged 7 wins a season. It starts from the top in the NFL and any business.

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:03 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

That was cry baby Dan Snyder's move.  The punter probably didn't address him as Mr. Snyder one day.  Worst owner in pro sports.

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:01 pm

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

I think it was journalistically incorrect for ths entry to exclude the fact Hunter Smith is terrible this year. Writer a bitter Redskins fan? Nice job.

Since: Nov 20, 2006
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:57 am

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

I thought the snap was high and not Smith's fault.  Could it have been caught?  Yes, but maybe 50% of the time.  Center should take some blame here, although who really cares?

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:45 am

Hunter Smith cut for 'political' reasons?

Sounds like the botched hold was just the "final straw", not the entire reason for Smith getting cut.  He is currently #30 in gross average and #31 in net average per punt...he was not exactly setting the league on fire with his punting prowess prior to the botched snap.  Maybe he should consider that when deciding whether his release was "political" or whether he was made a "scapegoat".

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