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Redskins Punter Tress Way Eyeing Pro Bowl Berth

December 11, 2014

ASHBURN, Va. -- There's a pretty good chance that Redskins players will be hard to come by on this season's Pro Bowl rosters.

In a season during which Washington players have given fans little to be excited about, only fullback Darrel Young and punter Tress Way are currently in the top 10 in Pro Bowl votes for their respective positions.

Right now, Way is third amongst punters in Pro Bowl votes, but will need to be one of the top two to be selected to the game and eligible for the un-conferenced draft format that was introduced last year.

Way, who leads the NFL in average yards per punt (48.1), said his wife spends about an hour per day on the computer voting to improve his chances of going to Pro Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., the site of Super Bowl XLIX Feb. 1, as opposed to the Pro Bowl's usual location in Hawaii.

Way said that same type of excitement and encouragement has been shared by the Redskins' locker room.

Redskins 2014: Tress Way (Week 2 vs. Jaguars)
Photo Credit: Ed Sheahin/PressBox

''What's been coolest for me is the people who talk most about the Pro Bowl are my teammates,'' Way said. ''They're even calling me the nickname 'Pro Bowl.'''

The Chicago Bears signed Way as an undrafted free agent in April 2013 to challenge veteran punter Adam Podlesh, but he was waived that August. The Bears re-signed him this offseason, but again waived him in August in favor of their 2014 sixth-round pick, Pat O'Donnell.

''In looking back on it from Chicago to here, I still think I wasn't quite ready,'' Way said. ''I still think I wasn't quite ready to play in the NFL when I was in Chicago, even earlier this year. I think I was going out and practicing really well, but I kind of always had that 'Pat [O'Donnell] was drafted' in the back of my mind.''

Way was claimed off waivers by Washington Aug. 20 and given 10 days to prove himself to special teams coach Ben Kotwica. According to Way, Kotwica told him that it may only be 10 days, but if he punted better than the other punter, Robert Malone, in training camp, then the job was his.

''I think being tossed into full competition, coach looking at me and saying, 'Here you go. You punt better; it's yours.' I think that made me step up, and I learned how to play," Way said. "I'm still learning, don't get me wrong. I'm a rookie, but I learned more in those 10 days of just how cutthroat, how the performance, the consistency, just how good you have to be.''

Way said his coaches and teammates have been preaching consistency to him as a model for a long and successful NFL career, but he attributes much of his strong start and Pro Bowl-caliber season to Kotwica.

''I think the way that coach [Kotwica] has been coaching me throughout the weeks of practice, the way he has pushed me, while also encouraging me in the things I have been doing well, I think that it's the reason I'm so comfortable," Way said. ''It's the reason I'm so confident going into every game.'' 

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