Quiet Redskins Kicker Suisham Having Quite a Year

Canadian has hit 16 of 21 field goals

There are plenty of good stories about Washington Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham. Just don't expect him to tell them.

Suisham doesn't say much and his contributions to the Redskins 6-2 have widely gone unnoticed. But Suisham has made 16 field goals this season -- tied for third in the NFL -- on 21 attempts for a total of 63 points. Two of the misses came from 50 and 52 yards.

And while the quiet Canadian remains mum most of the time, his teammates have plenty to say about his antics -- on and off the field.

There's the friendly offseason feud he had with center Casey Rabach, which began when Rabach began parking his car in Suisham's spot.

"It's was one of those things back and forth," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "He let the air out of Casey's tires. Casey took his car and parked it on the field. He stole one of Casey's (parking) signs and parked Casey's car in the middle (of the lot). It was kind of a one-up sort of deal."

Or the Ontario native recording a public service announcement encouraging to people to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

"And he's not even an American citizen," Rabach said. "How about that?"

Then there's the challenge of working with his third different holder because the Redskins had trouble settling on a punter. Derrick Frost was cut at the end of preseason, and Durant Brooks was released earlier this month. Recently signed Ryan Plackemeier now has the job.

"That's hard," long snapper Ethan Albright said. "In our little world, that's very unusual in one year to have that many different ones. For him to stay with the operation and have the year he's having, that's a true testament to his mental makeup."

Finally, consider that, for the first time in his career, Suisham has a coach who will get in his face when a kick goes awry. Coach Joe Gibbs would leave the kicker alone, but Jim Zorn wants answers right away.

"I don't need him to be anyone other than who he is, but he does have to communicate," Zorn said. "And I think it was hard for him earlier in the season to take me coming up to him and going, 'What happened?' It's like, 'You're talking to me?' 'Yes, I'm talking to you. What actually happened?"'

Those stories come from other people because Suisham is easily the quietest player on the team. It's only appropriate that his pretty good season isn't getting much attention.

"If you do say something to him, it's 'Yeah, that's cool,"' receiver Antwaan Randle El said. "A couple of one-word answers, and it's done."

Suisham's kicks have made the difference in four of the Redskins' six victories, a byproduct of the offense's troubling tendency to stall in the red zone. He made three field goals in the 29-24 win against New Orleans, four in the 26-24 victory vs. Dallas, three in the 23-17 win over Philadelphia, and four in last week's 25-17 triumph at Detroit.

"We expect it," Zorn said. "And he definitely has come through. I don't even take time to watch it. I'm getting on to the next series."

So what does Suisham have to say for himself? This week, after consenting to an interview, he sat in front of the nearby locker on a stool belonging to Fred Smoot, who ironically is the most talkative player on the team.

None of Smoot's bombastic nature rubbed off.

"I don't have a lot for you, really," Suisham said.

Not that Suisham is rude. Far from it. He always smiles pleasantly while giving his short answers.

On his production this season: "I could have less misses than I have, and it's something I need to limit as we get into the second half of the year."

On dealing with three holders: "That's part of being a professional. That's the situation we have."

When asked about letting the air out of Rabach's tires, he gave a very sly smile: "I didn't admit to any of that."

Suisham admitted that Zorn's in-your-face approach took some getting used to, and he smiled again at the irony of his participation in the get-out-the-vote campaign.

"You know I can't vote, right?" said the 26-year-old kicker, who has retained Canadian citizenship even though he's lived almost his entire adult life in the United States.

The Redskins, who have cycled through far too many kickers to count over the last 15 years, could care less about Suisham's understated personality as long as he is making kicks and staying healthy. If he finishes this year, he will become the first Washington kicker to make it through entire back-to-back seasons since Chip Lohmiller's seven-year stint ended in 1994.

"He's on the way up in his career," Albright said. "He's going to be around here a long time. He's got a strong young leg."

But does anything get him excited?

"I'm seen him get excited after he jumps in on tackles," Albright said. "I guess that's the Canadian in him coming out."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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