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Revisiting Some Special Teams Notes With H.B. Blades

Posted by Matt Terl on September 28, 2010 – 9:00 am

The Redskins’ gameday on Sunday was weird — almost snakebit — on just about every level. On a macro scale, the day started with a freak injury to the punter in pregame warmups and ended with severe technical difficulties at Mike Shanahan’s press conference. On a micro level, just about every player — and certainly every unit on the field — had at least one bizarre and inexplicable misstep, and the special teams was no exception.

Aside from the injury to the punter (which is weird enough on its own) and his replacement by kicker Graham Gano, the special teams unit’s day included the following occurrences, good and bad:

  • a punt blocked
  • a block of a field goal
  • a kickoff out of bounds
  • a turnover forced
  • a penalty for lining up offsides on a kickoff

There may be one or two others that I missed, but it gives the flavor of the thing. So yesterday I asked special teams stalwart H.B. Blades for a few of his thoughts on the strange, frustrating day that was.
On if a sudden change of punter made things tough on the protection team and led to the first blocked punt:
“It’s tough, but it’s tough on the punter. We go out there and cover, no matter where the ball is at, we just go out there and cover. It’s tougher on the punter than it is for the guys on the coverage unit. I thought Graham did the best that he could in the short time he had — it’s not like he had a week to get ready for it; he had a couple of minutes. I think Graham did a great job and we’re proud of him.”

On being called for an offsides penalty on a kickoff:
“It was a close call, but they called it and we re-kicked it. They still didn’t get much on our kickoff team, which I consider the best in the league.” (The Rams totaled 3 returns for 57 yards with a long of 26; there was also 1 touchback and, of course, the kickoff out of bounds.)

On the bizarre special teams day as a whole:
“We had a couple of new guys in the rotation, with injuries and stuff like that, so a couple of things were kinda off-key. But on the whole, that’s on the our core guys on special teams to make sure everything goes the way that things are supposed to go: Mike Sellers, me, Zo (Lorenzo Alexander), Chris Wilson, guys like that. Guys that’ve been here and know what Redskins special teams are all about, that’s on us.”

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