Novak to replace injured Hall as Redskins' kicker

Updated: October 10, 2006, 9:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

John Hall
Hall
Nick Novak
Novak

Nick Novak is taking over from John Hall as the Washington Redskins' kicker for the second time in as many years.

The Redskins signed Novak on Tuesday after the former University of Maryland kicker won a four-way competition among available free agents. He'll handle the kicking duties in Sunday's game against Tennessee.

Hall was placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

Novak, 25, was one of four candidates to audition for coaches and personnel officials Tuesday afternoon. He was joined by veteran free agents Todd Peterson and Jose Cortez and by Tyler Jones, who was with the Redskins in training camp this summer.

Last season, Novak kicked in five games for the Redskins, while Hall was sidelined, and converted 5-of-7 field-goal attempts, including a winning kick in overtime against Seattle. He was perfect in three field-goal tries with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 during a five-game stint. Between the two teams, Novak made 8-of-10 field goals and all 15 of his extra point tries, for 39 points.

His average field-goal conversion was for 32.5 yards, and his longest success was from 40 yards. Five of his conversions were from 35 yards or less, and both misses came on blocked kicks, from 38 and 39 yards.

During his college career, Novak made 80-of-97 field-goal tries and 153-of-159 extra points. The former Terrapins standout is not particularly long on his kickoffs, however, and those chores may be assumed by punter Derrick Frost, who kicked off in last Sunday's 19-3 loss to the New York Giants after it was determined that Hall was suffering from fatigue in his leg.

Hall, 32, joined the Redskins in 2003 as an unrestricted free agent, after spending the first six seasons of his career with the New York Jets. But Hall is frequently injured and only once since signing with the Redskins, during the 2003 season, has Hall been able to kick in all 16 games. Because of injuries, Hall appeared in a total of just 18 games in 2004-05.

The veteran kicker did not appear on the Redskins' injury report following Sunday's game. But coach Joe Gibbs said Monday afternoon that Hall had experienced fatigue in his quadriceps and that it became worse as the game wore on.

It was not immediately clear how Hall's situation will be resolved. ESPN.com first reported on Monday that Hall's job was in jeopardy, despite the fact he had converted 9-of-11 field-goal attempts in the first five games of the season.

In the past, Washington officials have been frustrated by the 10-year veteran's lack of availability because of injuries. He suffered a hamstring injury that limited him to eight games in 2004 and in 2005 played in just 10 games because of a quadriceps injury.

The issue with Hall's leg, Gibbs said Monday, was a "real concern." This year, Hall has two injuries in his kicking leg: a strained groin and a strained quadriceps. He complained of a tired leg late last week, and the leg became sore during Sunday's game.

For his career, Hall has connected on 203-of-272 field goals and 280-of-286 extra points.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.