Redskins Look for a New Punter

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins will absolutely, positively have a new punter next week.

Or maybe not.

Fed up with rookie Durant Brooks' inconsistency, executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said definitively on his radio show Monday that "somebody else will be punting" when the Redskins host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Redskins will audition two or three punters Tuesday to replace sixth-round draft pick Brooks, who ranks last by far in the NFL in gross average (39.6) and net average (32.1), Cerrato said. Brooks was booed repeatedly by the home fans in Sunday's 19-17 loss to St. Louis, especially after a 26-yard shank from his own end zone that set up a Rams field goal in the third quarter.

Shortly afterward, coach Jim Zorn was put in the awkward position of contradicting his boss without sounding as if he were contradicting his boss. Yes, the coach said, there will be punters brought in for tryouts, but there's a chance Brooks will keep the job if those auditions don't go well.

"You can't say, 'We're going to replace him,' 'See ya later,' when we need to look at who we would replace him with, as well -- if we were going to replace him," Zorn said. "Now he may be the best guy out there, and then we have to work with him."

Complicating matters, Zorn revealed that Brooks has been suffering from a nagging hip flexor and quad strain in his kicking leg and was having an MRI on Monday. The injury hasn't prevented Brooks from punting well in practice, and Zorn stressed the injury has nothing to do with the decision to look elsewhere.

"I would say his position is in jeopardy," Zorn said. "Because of performance, not because of injury."

Zorn delicately said Cerrato's comments might have been based on the assumption that Brooks would be unable to punt against the Browns because of the injuries.

As poorly as Brooks has punted, finding a replacement during the season isn't easy. The Green Bay Packers were holding auditions Monday to find a possible replacement for struggling veteran Derrick Frost -- the very punter the Redskins cut in preseason to make room for Brooks.

Brooks, who won the Ray Guy Award last year as the nation's top collegiate punter, realized his spot was in danger following Sunday's loss.

"I am going to watch the tape and see what I am doing," Brooks said. "Something is not right."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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