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Classic Camp Battle: 1982 Moseley vs. Miller

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Classic Camp Battle: 1982 Moseley vs. Miller

When the Washington Redskins reported to training camp is Carlisle, Pennsylvania on July 23, 1982, there was considerable uncertainty in the air. A player's strike loomed on the horizon. Nobody quite knew what to make of the Redskins including the players and coaches themselves. Was their 8-3 finish in 1981 an indicator of better things to come in '82? Or, was the 0-5 start to that season a better gauge of the team's talent level?

Even one of the constants on the team seemed to be in flux. Mark Moseley, the team's kicker for the previous eight seasons, was getting a stiff challenge from rookie Dan Miller, a rookie in whom the Redskins had invested an 11th-round draft pick.

"I think they are just trying to make a better kicker of me," Moseley said, of the Redskins' decision to draft Miller. "Was I so bad (last year) that I'm no longer an NFL kicker? Was I so bad that they had to use an 11th-round choice to replace me instead of using that pick to bring in the young talent they need more at other positions?"

Special teams coach Wayne Sevier let Moseley know that the challenge was quite serious.

"No one should sell Dan Miller short," Sevier said. "This guy is a quality kicker with a very strong leg and excellent accuracy. I'm confident he could make it from 60 yards."

Moseley displayed great bravado. "I'm a long way from being done, he said. "If I left here, I know there would be teams out there wanting me. But I don't want to leave. I want to stay in Washington. They want to motivate me, that's all. I can feel a great year coming, all the way to Hawaii (and the Pro Bowl)."

A possible trip to Hawaii seemed to slip further and further away from Moseley as camp wore on. Miller boomed field goals of 51 and 52 yards in an intrasquad scrimmage. Each successful boot cleared the crossbar with considerable room to spare, lending credence to Sevier's claim that Miller could boot one from 60.

Miller remained the humble rookie, realizing how difficult it is to unseat a veteran. "I'm just concentrating the best I can to show I'm consistent. I know this is a challenge. It's like a heavyweight championship. I have to score a clear-cut victory. If it's close, they will go with Mark, I know that."

Neither kicker got a lot of chances to shine during the first three preseason games as the Washington offense struggled. Still, Moseley's days as a Redskin appeared to be numbered. His name was floated in trade rumors and it was reported that Moseley had agreed to be dealt away for a defensive lineman. The area papers started to refer to Moseley's release being "likely" if the trade didn't go through.

Then things turned around for Moseley. Miller missed field goal attempts of 45 and 37 yards in the final preseason game. Joe Gibbs and Sevier felt that they had to go with Moseley to start the regular season. However, they still had their doubts about Moseley's age and leg strength so the kept Miller on the taxi squad.

With Miller watching in street clothes, Moseley seized his opportunity. He kicked three field goals in the season opener in Philadelphia. The second one erased any doubts about his leg strength. It was a clutch 48-yarder that would have been good from 60 and it tied the game at 34 at the end of overtime. His next kick, a 30-yarder, won the game in overtime.

Moseley never looked back. He went on to have the greatest season an NFL kicker has ever had. His field goals provided the winning margin in five of the team's eight regular-season wins. A dramatic field goal at RFK Stadium in the final seconds in a snowstorm against the Giants both broke the league record for consecutive field goals made and gave the Redskins a playoff spot on their way to a Super Bowl title. That not only helped him win that trip to Hawaii he had talked about in August, it earned him the NFL Most Valuable Player award, a first for a kicker.

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Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

Redskins interview another former Chargers defensive coordinator

The Redskins continue to cast a wide net in their search for a new defensive coordinator. On Thursday, they interviewed John Pagano, who was recently let go as the defensive coordinator of the Chargers.

Pagano, the brother of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, has been coaching with the Chargers since 2002. That year he started as a quality control coach and then he was the linebackers coach from 2005-2011. The Chargers fired defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, a current Redskins coach and another candidate to run the defense in Washington, after the 2011 season and Pagano was promoted into that job.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

In Pagano’s five seasons with the Chargers, the performance of the defense was respectable. In terms of total yards, San Diego was in the top 10 twice and only once were they ranked worse than 20th.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry on January 5. The list of candidates they have interviewed includes Mike Pettine, Gus Bradley, Rob Ryan, Manusky, and Jason Tarver. They are expected to interview former Jets and Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman on Friday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

None of the candidates they have interviewed have accepted positions with other teams so they are all still in play. There is no timetable for the team to make a decision, although the sense is that the process is coming to a close and will be concluded in the near future.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Need to Know: How long is too long in the Redskins' defensive coordinator search?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 20, 97 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 40
NFL free agency starts 48
First Sunday of 2017 season 233

Will Pleasant push the defensive coordinator search to a conclusion?

Is the Redskins’ search for a defensive coordinator taking too long? Joe Barry was fired two weeks ago yesterday. The Redskins have made it clear that they want to be very thorough in their search. But taking time creates problems and one just popped up. Assistant defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant apparently has the option to follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. But the Redskins want to hold on to him.

The problem is that they don’t want to sign Pleasant to be, say, the cornerbacks coach and tie the hands of the incoming defensive coordinator. They already would like the new guy to keep OLB coach Greg Manusky and ILB coach Kirk Olivadotti. Locking in a third position coach might made it very hard to persuade a quality coordinator to come on board.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

However, they can’t hold Pleasant, who is a young, energetic coach who relates well to the players, back indefinitely. Presumably McVay and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have a bigger role in mind for him and they won’t wait forever for him to get things resolved in Washington.

But it’s not like the Pleasant situation will need to be resolved by the close of business today. We’re talking days, not hours. How many days? They could lose him due because of the Redskins’ deliberate process if it stretches into sometime early next week. I think the chances are strong that there will be a decision on the new defensive coordinator by, say, the close of business on Tuesday.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

I’ll wrap this up with a quick round of laying out the $100 in casino chips on the various defensive coordinator candidates. Things have changed since I did it on Monday. I’ll still make Greg Manusky the favorite but I’ll drop him down five bucks to $35. I’m downgrading Mike Pettine down to a $10 wager; I’ve heard that the organization was not impressed with his interview. I’m more than doubling the wager on Gus Bradley to $25. It’s been a few days since reports that the Chargers were pressing him for a decision and yet he remains in play. I’m going with $10 on Dennis Thurmon, who is from the school of the aggressive style of play that Jay Gruden is looking for. Rob Ryan gets not a cent and the remaining $20, including John Pagao, who interviewed yesterday, goes on the field.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.