Biggs: Suisham and shades of Ian Howfield
Shaun Suisham didn’t quite pull an Ian Howfield.
Howfield’s last kick in the NFL came against the Washington Redskins in 1991. The England native, who played in college at Tennessee, hooked on with the Houston Oilers at the start of the season.
He was in his ninth game with them when he missed a 33-yard field goal with one second remaining in regulation at RFK Stadium that gave the Redskins a second life, allowing them to come back claim a 16-13 win in overtime and run their record to 9-0 en route to Super Bowl XXVI.
Suisham shanked a 23-yard field goal on Sunday that would have given the New Orleans Saints their first loss of the season, and at least temporarily pulled Washington out of the worst of doldrums. Suisham is 18-for-21 this season for the Redskins, more consistent than just about anyone else on the team, and he’s been the best kicker the franchise has had since Norv Turner bounced Chip Lohmiller more than a decade ago.
But Suisham missed a chip shot to give the Redskins a win they needed. Never mind that the snap was high. Kickers need to make those at any point in a game, but especially with a chance to put a game on ice in the closing minutes.
To that end, the Redskins will trot out four free agents in a tryout today. Shane Andrus, Graham Gano, Mike Nugent and ex-Redskin Nick Novak will get a look. Novak, replacing injured John Hall in 2006, missed a 49-yard field goal against the Dallas Cowboys with 35 seconds to play. After a wild series of events, he hit a 47-yarder with no time left to win the same game. It was Suisham who replaced Novak later that season.
Redskins coach Jim Zorn has said the tryouts don’t necessarily signal the end of Suisham. Special teams coach Danny Smith has supported his kicker. It could be Washington wants to line a guy up in the event there are more struggles. It could be the team wants to send Suisham a message. And Suisham could be as good as gone.
Know this much: Howfield never played again in the NFL after his miss.
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