Rick Snider: Is Forbath the answer to Redskins' longtime kicking woes?

By |
Photo - Larry French/Getty Images
Kai Forbath has made all 10 of his field goals this season for the Redskins, including a 50-yarder in his NFL debut vs. the Vikings.
Larry French/Getty Images Kai Forbath has made all 10 of his field goals this season for the Redskins, including a 50-yarder in his NFL debut vs. the Vikings.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,Rick Snider

The locker in the far corner hosts the quietest of Washington Redskins. He doesn't even know all his teammates' names.

But they know him.

Kai Forbath has converted his first 10 field goal attempts since he joined the Redskins in Week 6, including a 50-yarder in his first game. That welcome-to-the-NFL moment showed he's a gamer. Three more kicks from at least 47 yards have followed.

Could he truly be the kicker Washington has searched for fruitlessly since it cut Chip Lohmiller in 1995? The Redskins, who once kept kickers such as Mark Moseley (1974-86) and Lohmiller (1988-94) for years, have had 18 since Lohmiller's departure.

Moseley, of course, was the only kicker to win an NFL MVP award in 1982 when he made a then-record 23 straight field goals. Since the mid-1990s, the Redskins have gone to passersby such as Scott Blanton, Jose Cortez, Nick Novak, Chris Jacke, Obed Ariri and Brett Conway, whose most notable move was stuffing live mice in teammates' lockers after they drew whiskers on his face while he slept on an overnight flight. The team even used five kickers in 2000.

If Norv Turner had a decent kicker, he might still be coaching in Washington. Turner once was so desperate he made aging Eddie Murray try a late 49-yarder in a 9-7 loss to the New York Giants in 2000. Murray told Turner he couldn't kick past 43 yards, and sure enough the kick was short. Turner was fired hours later.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan hasn't been fortunate with kickers here, either. After Billy Cundiff missed five of 12 in the first five games, Shanahan opted for a player with no game experience over two veterans in a Tuesday tryout. The coach figured the two vets already had failed before, while Forbath was untested. He missed last season with a leg injury following his career at UCLA, where he won the Lou Groza award as the nation's top college kicker in 2009.

Shanahan's instincts were right. Forbath isn't troubled by past demons. He isn't worried about the team changing deep snappers. The style he adopted as a high school freshman when he switched from soccer works.

"I try to keep it simple, not overthink things," Forbath said. "When I'm struggling, I'll look at the film. Trying to stay smooth in my swing is the biggest key."

There are no lucky socks. He won't moan about a tenth of a second difference in snaps. Forbath seems similar to 1970s predecessor Curt Knight, who simply went out and kicked the ball.

"I wear whatever socks they give me and go out there and kick it," he joked.

Shanahan joked about what a nice guy he was for making Forbath's first try a 50-yarder. But kicking sessions two times a week at UCLA as he awaited an offer, Forbath wasn't fazed. Indeed, his teammates marvel at his calmness.

"I didn't know at the time it was 50," he said. "It happened so fast I just went out and kicked it."

Hopefully, Forbath isn't out of here fast like so many past Redskins kickers.

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Rick Snider

Sports columnists
The Washington Examiner