Kai Forbath vs. Zach Hocker: The Fight to be the Washington Redskins Kicker in 2014
After 2012 the Washington Redskins thought they had finally found the placekicker they could depend on. Kai Forbath was signed after the Redskins released then kicker Billy Cundiff. Forbath proceeded to make 17 straight field goals, breaking an NFL record for most consecutive field goals to start a career and cementing his spot on the roster.
2013 presented a different feel for Forbath as we missed weeks 2-4 with a groin muscle strain and lost long-snapper Nick Sundberg for the season due to a knee injury. Two of Forbaths’ misses came from blocks, one of which was a 59-yard attempt. He finished the last eight games of the season with 13 straight field goals. Kai looked to be on the right track after overcoming some adversity early on last year, the only real issues with him are on kickoffs and consistency past 50 yards on field goals. The kickoff issue is what led the Redskins to draft Zach Hocker and make the placekicker position an open competition.
After the first couple weeks of training camp, the two kickers are locked in a kicking competition that has them alternating kicks, meaning if one kicks off, the other gets the next kicking opportunity. Even though Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said after the game last night nobody is leading at the moment, it was clear to see Hocker played better.
“Zach had a great couple good kickoffs and a good tackle and made a field goal,” Gruden said. “Kai, you know, he had a kickoff out of bounds…so that’s a decision that’s going to come after the fourth preseason game.
“I don’t know where it’s going to go, there’s really nobody leading right now, it’s going to be down to the wire I’m sure.”
It’s true, Hocker did look good, and Forbath had moments when he did not. Forbath missed a field goal, had a kickoff go out of bounds resulting in a penalty, not to mention Forbath missed another field goal but luckily a delay of game penalty gave him a second chance.
This is one battle that could last all the way up to the last day before the 53 man roster is announced. In the end, it is highly possible that bringing in Hocker was just a way to push Forbath, of course, it is also possible that Hocker wins the job.
After the first preseason game it’s Hocker 1, Forbath 0…stay tuned.