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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' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.

RELATED: REMEMBERING JIM VANCE

The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.