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Redskin Kicker Optimistic That He Can Adjust

November 07, 1986|DAVE SELL | The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — After looking at the film, talking with his coaches and deciding to move almost a yard farther from the line of scrimmage, Washington Redskins kicker Max Zendejas said he thinks the problems he experienced Sunday can be solved without much trouble. Now his goal is "to prove that I am better than what it seemed Sunday."

In Sunday's 44-38 overtime win over Minnesota, Zendejas made field goals of 25 and 42 yards, with a miss from 51. But he made only two of five extra point attempts; two of the three miscues were blocked.

"It was little minor things that turned out to be big things," Zendejas said before Wednesday's cold, rainy practice at Redskin Park. "It's something easily corrected. We'll go out and practice and I'm pretty sure we can get it by the game Sunday.

"I wasn't too happy with my performance at all. I should have come through and made the extra points instead of missing three. I didn't really know what was going on until I went back and looked at the film."

Special teams coach Wayne Sevier said the film showed Zendejas hurrying his approach, not getting as long a look at the ball as he should and thus kicking it low.

In Wednesday's workout, holder Jay Schroeder was putting the ball down just less than eight yards from the line of scrimmage.

"We moved him back a little, and he slowed himself down a little," Schroeder said. "So it's just a matter of getting it worked out. He got the ball up pretty good today, so we'll see."

The idea behind moving back more than seven yards was that it might give Zendejas a more secure feeling, which might help him slow down his approach and thus get a higher trajectory.

"I'll feel a lot better and I can take a little more time," Zendejas said. "It will be safer to get the ball up quicker and that will help. We were kicking at 7 1/2 and eight (when he first arrived), but they figured I was getting it up pretty good and needed to move up. It was working at first, but I knew that sooner or later somebody would come through and block it because we were too close."

Zendejas, a rookie from the University of Arizona, was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of this year's draft, but was cut in the preseason. On Oct. 13, the Redskins released 13-year veteran Mark Moseley, who had missed an extra point and a field goal in a loss at Dallas the day before. Zendejas arrived that night and signed the next day.

Zendejas was six for six on extra points and two for three on field goals entering Sunday's game, which was his third. But when he missed three extra points Sunday, which was one more than he missed in four years at Arizona, he heard from many of the 51,928 at RFK Stadium.

"That really doesn't bother me, whether they're on my side or not, or if they're booing me," Zendejas said. "Personally, I don't think a lot of those fans even know what they're booing about. I try not to listen to them. I have so many other things on my mind, I don't listen to them. My concentration is so deep into the game and what I need to do to help the team, that I ignore it and blank out everything that surrounds me. That really helps me a lot. I don't pay attention to that-just to the team."

Zendejas said loss of concentration was not a factor Sunday, and he has not lost his confidence.

"I never lost my concentration, and even at the end I felt like going back and trying again," Zendejas said. "I just couldn't figure out what was going wrong. But I haven't lost confidence. ... You can't lose confidence in yourself because that's when you start going down."

Sevier and Coach Joe Gibbs have said they still are behind Zendejas, although obviously they are hoping he works out the problems by Sunday's game against the Packers in Green Bay.

"What I think we have here is a very talented young man," Sevier said, "and I think he can make the clutch kicks."

Zendejas was glad to know he still has support.

"It helped to know they have confidence in me," Zendejas said. "It would help any kicker to know they are still behind you after having a bad game. I'm glad they're being patient and are willing to work with me. I'll just have to bounce back and keep going forward."

Guard Ron Tilton, who has been waived and re-signed twice since making the team in training camp as a free agent rookie from Tulane, rejoined the team. To make room for Tilton (the eighth offensive lineman on the active roster), former USFL wide receiver Derek Holloway (one reception) was put on injured reserve. The Redskins said he sprained his right ankle in practice last Thursday, although they did not announce the injury. Holloway played one play in Sunday's game, covering a kick. ...

Guard Russ Grimm (back and shoulder), wide receiver Clark (hamstring) and kick returner Ken Jenkins (shoulder) did not practice, although all three are probable for Sunday.

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