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Monday, December 29, 2008
All-NFC South team: Specialists

By Pat Yasinskas

Posted by's Pat Yasinskas

We've covered the All-NFC South offense and defense in earlier posts. Now, it's time to move onto the specialists. We'll be back with coaches and front office a little bit later.

Kicker: John Kasay, Panthers.
This is a tough call because Jason Elam and Matt Bryant are proven veterans who had very good seasons. But the nod goes to Kasay. The bottom line was, who would I want attempting a field goal to win a key game? The answer was Kasay. Yeah, I know he missed a tough field goal in a very windy Giants Stadium. But he nailed the game-winner against New Orleans that clinched the division title and the No. 2 seed.

Punter: Michael Koenen, Falcons.
He doesn't have the biggest leg in the division, but Koenen is very consistent. The coverage unit also played a big part, but Koenen was a factor in the Falcons allowing an NFL record-low 49 yards for the season on punt returns.

Return man: Clifton Smith, Buccaneers.
He didn't get on the 53-man roster, but Smith wound up earning a Pro Bowl berth. So much for using a second-round pick on Dexter Jackson. The Bucs signed Smith off the street, and he'll be their return man for the foreseeable future.

Long-snapper: Jason Kyle, Panthers.
You've never heard of Kyle? That means he's doing his job flawlessly.