I suppose we're just continuing the theme from yesterday's special teams update. First, from the official site:
Special teams coordinator Danny Smith said he expects no personnel changes among his kick returners this season.
That means Rock Cartwright is slated to return kickoffs and Antwaan Randle El remains the punt return specialist...
"We'll use a number of guys to return kickoffs, because you can't have just one guy doing it," Smith said. "Rock obviously is our guy and he had a great season last year. He will be very, very difficult to beat out, in my opinion. But that's what camps and preseason games are for, so we'll see."
I don't know what to do with these mixed signals, but given the way he played in 2007, I have few issues speculating towards Cartwright to be the kick returner this coming season. I thought he played phenomenally in that role, better than anyone we've had in years. Football Outsiders had us at about the 8th best kick return unit in the league.
Forget what I said about Moss yesterday, as Coach Smith made clear:
"We'll use some other people [during preseason], but I wouldn't take it as a real challenge to Antwaan," Smith said. "We have to use some people, because he won't return all of the punts in preseason."
Speaking of Coach Smith, Matt Terl tracked him down to talk Brooks vs. Frost at The Official Redskins Blog, which I'm now calling TORB of the Mole People!:
All right, let’s talk about that battle, because when you watch some position battles, there’s noise and hitting and popping pads. Is this REALLY that heated?
It is heated in a sense – sometimes it’s more psychological than those other battles, which might make it harder. If it’s physical — and all these guys are physical specimens, so to speak — you can get out there and take out your frustrations on someone, and that sometimes helps....
We’re going to put our numbers on the table – who’s got the hangtime, who’s got the distance, who got the location, is it a plus or a minus. We’re going to put our numbers on the table and then a lot of people will be able to figure out who the best punter is.
Once more, I have to hope that Brooks ultimately wins the numbers game, not because I hate Derrick Frost, but because when teams invest valuable resources into punters a return is expected. Having said that, and I'm surprised by these numbers, FO (I'm consistent) said we were 6th last year on punting. Who knew?