Redskins K Dustin Hopkins out for season; team signs Nick Rose to fill in
By Ian Cummings
Well, that escalated quickly.
Just a day or so ago, it was reported that Dustin Hopkins, the Redskins’ up-and-down kicker, would be out for a little while with a hip ailment. But now, it appears the injury is a bit more severe. Hopkins will be out for the rest of the season to recover, per J.P. Finlay of NBCSN.
The Redskins expectedly worked out a number of kickers on Tuesday, while releasing Joel Stave from the practice squad in a coinciding move. Among the kickers who tried out for the team was veteran Mike Nugent. Along with him, the team also tried out Marshall Koehn, Andrew Franks, and Nick Rose as younger options. They ended up going with Rose as the signee. He apparently had a leg up on the rest of the competition (pun intended).
Nick Rose is a bit of an unknown in the NFL. He finished his college career at Texas making 27 out of 38 total field goals, and he missed three extra points in that time. Like many special teams players, he went undrafted in the ensuing NFL Draft, and he was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons as a UFA.
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Rose has never seen NFL action. He was waived early by the Falcons, and when the 49ers brought him on this offseason to test him out as a successor for Robbie Gould, he ultimately didn’t make the cut, being released at the start of September in the final roster trim down.
Rose, 23, has potential. At 6-foot-3, he has the length to get good leverage on the ball. His career long at Texas was only a 53-yard attempt in 2015, but at Texas, he had reputation for being a kicker who consistently put enough power on the ball on kickoffs to get touchbacks. That’s a quality the Redskins found attractive in Dustin Hopkins, and that may have been a factor in their final decision.
The signing of Rose over other, more experienced options such as Mike Nugent, spells doubt for Dustin Hopkins’ future. If Rose plays well, and more consistent than Hopkins has in recent weeks, will the team roll with him instead? By passing over Nugent for Rose, they’ve shown that the prospect of moving on from Hopkins is at least on their minds. It’s fair to wonder if Hopkins has played his last game as a Redskin.
Hopkins’ injury is disappointing, nonetheless. Despite his recent struggles, he had locked down a position that was a turnstile in earlier decades. With his deactivation, it’s back to square one, and nobody likes that, no matter how much your kicker’s play fluctuates.
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For now, the Redskins have Nick Rose, who will be tested for the first time on the NFL stage. He offers college experience, but little more. He has the rest of the week to get settled in D.C. and prepare himself for his first NFL game on Monday Night. It’s shaping up to be a close one, and in the end, Nick Rose’s leg could get very important early reps.