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Tress Way Confident, Feeling A Difference This Year

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A late addition to the preseason roster last year, Tress Way is not only the team's only punter, he's an important weapon in pinning opponent's deep in their own territory.

At Oklahoma, Tress Way was one of a few punters on the roster. During his two stints on the Chicago Bears' roster, he challenged for punting duties with Adam Podlesh and Pat O'Donnell, but did not beat either out for the job.

A countdown of the top-10 images of punter Tress Way during the 2014 season.

And during his first few weeks with the Redskins last season, Way battled for a roster spot with Robert Malone.

So after eventually beating out Malone for the team's punter job -- perhaps in one of the more surprising roster decisions made all preseason -- Way cashed in on the organization's choice by turning in one of the best punting performances in team history.

This year, as a result, he finds himself as the only punter on Washington's 90-man roster.

"Any time you get that, that's an incredible feeling," Way told Redskins.com. "If coaches aren't happy with you, they're going to bring somebody in. A lot of people, while it definitely will make you feel better, you still have to prepare for them, so it was nice to get all those reps and Nick [Sundberg] and I constantly working together. You still got to perform, I took advantage of having all those reps and working on the things I wanted to work on to keep doing the things I wanted to do well."

Way says he's already feeling a difference in his timing and overall performance, worrying more about refining his own game than keeping an eye on someone else's punts as well.

"You go into practice and you go into games just trying to find a rhythm, because you just have a certain level of confidence; you've done it before," he said. "Whereas this time last year, I was trying to prove to myself and everybody else that I could make a team. So now, coming off a pretty good year of hitting the ball well all year long, it's nice to kind of ease into it. Where you're just kind of learning the game rhythm again and you're learning the swing, your line, you're learning this and that."

Way punted in all 16 games last season, averaging 47.5 yards on 77 punts (40.0 net) with 22 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. The Oklahoma product became the first Redskins punter to lead the league in punting for a season since Sam Baker did so in 1958.

His best performance of the season came against San Francisco, where three of his punts pinned the 49ers inside their own 8-yard line.

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said Way, even this offseason and training camp, "Has really been impressive to me since we got him, not only as a punter but as a kid."

"His legs get stronger every day," Gruden said. "He's got great hang time on his punts since I've seen him. He's consistent. There are things he needs to work on, but I feel very, very good about that position."

One aspect of Way's game he wants to really work on this season is his directional punting, especially to the lefty's dominant side.

"It was funny, Kai [Forbath] and I were laughing on the sidelines, because the game against Detroit I hit the ideal punt that I've been working on, right on the sideline 50, 60 yards down field, just right out there," he said. "Going left, I'm still working it a little bit, because I pride myself on having a good drop, I drop it just above my hip and have a good swing so I just got to find that line going left a little more and then the pooch punt, if I can just consistently put guys down in around the eight-, ten-yard line, five-yard line sometimes, then we're going to have a happy defense."

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