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For Frost, New Season Means a Fresh Start

Derrick Frost's 14-yard punt in the NFC Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was certainly ill-timed.

The shank gave the Bucs the ball at their own 46-yard line, down by a touchdown, with 1:05 left to play. Fortunately for the Redskins, Marcus Washington intercepted a Chris Simms pass on the next play, sealing a 17-10 playoff win.

Frost shook off that bad punt--what else could he do?--and got ready for the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Seattle a week later.

The Redskins would fall to the Seahawks by a score of 20-10 at Qwest Field. Perhaps forgotten in the aftermath of that game was Frost's solid punting performance.

Frost logged seven punts for a 42.7-yard average that afternoon. A cold rain fell from the skies most of the game. The playing field was rain-soaked and proper footing was difficult.

Frost managed to overcome the weather conditions, especially in the first quarter when booming kicks were most needed. The Redskins' offense had struggled to get going, due in part to poor field position. The unit started inside its own 20-yard line on the first five possessions.

Frost's solid punting--which included a 51-yarder--kept Seattle from starting a drive in Redskins' territory in the first half. It's one reason why the score stayed close until the Seahawks went up by 11 points in the third quarter.

That was last season, though. With the start of Organized Team Activity practice sessions at Redskins Park last week, Frost enters his third NFL season eying a fresh start.

He knows that most people will remember his 14-yard shank in Tampa Bay before they recall his solid showing in Seattle.

Last year, Frost logged 76 punts for a 40.4-yard punting average. He put 23 punts inside the 20-yard line and had a long of 55 yards.

In a sense, head coach Joe Gibbs and special teams coordinator Danny Smith gave Frost a vote of confidence this offseason by not bringing in a more experienced punter to challenge him.

Instead, the team signed undrafted rookie David Lonie out of California.

It's not out of the question that the team could bring in a veteran punter during training camp or even after the regular season has started. Last year, the Redskins signed Frost three weeks into the season to replace Andy Groom.

For now, it's Frost vs. Lonie in a competition for the punting job.

"I just look at it at like this: every year, every week, just do your job," Frost said. "If coaches like what you're doing, then you're going to be here. Last year I feel like I really finished out strong in the postseason and I think I'm in good standing with the coaches.

"I'm just going to worry about myself and how I perform, because my plate is full enough as it is to have to worry about things I can't control."

Despite finishing the 2005 regular season as the 14th-ranked punter in the NFC, Frost believes he showed improvement through the course of last season.

"This year, I'm hoping to start it off right and pick up where I left off from last year," he said.

Along with overall consistency, Frost aims to improve his situational punting this offseason.

"I need to work on punting out of the end zone better," he said. "I also hit too many touchbacks last year and I need to work on getting the ball inside the 20 a little better."

Frost is eager to get started.

"This should be an exciting year for the fans and I know there's a lot to be expected from this team," Frost said. "This will be the first time that I'll be with a team that has high expectations. So that's really exciting."

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