Jay Gruden has taken his "competition at every position" to the next level by giving Redskins kicker Kai Forbath the boot this week (pun absolutely intended). Forbath has been a solid place kicker but has struggled with his leg strength, but you can read all about that here. What this made me think of is the never ending carousel of kickers the Skins have cycled through recently. Since 2005 the Redskins have had nine, yes NINE, kickers if you include the preseason. From Shayne Graham to Graham Gano, from Billy Cundiff to Cobra Kai, the Skins have trotted out a long list of kicking specialists. This throwback Thursday we’re gonna take a look at the Redskins kickers since 2005.
While there are only 32 (starting) NFL kickers at a time the Skins demand to find a new one every so often. They see a kicker for a few years and then when the ring finger starts itching and the all-white uniforms start showing up in search histories the Skins run out of town searching for a one season fling. Ever afraid of commitment to kickers, The Skins’ relationship with them has about the sticking power of off brand duct tape. Here’s a chart going over the history of Redskins kickers since 2005, note how a bunch of these players moved onto a healthier relationship with teams who are willing to stick with them through sickness and health, at least to an extent. Player histories are according to Fantasy Football Challenge.
|Year||Name||Years in NFL after being cut by Redskins||Teams after cut by Redskins|
|2005||Nick Novak||6||Chiefs, Chargers|
|Preseason only||Zach Hocker||0+ (has played one game in 2015 season)||Saints|
|Preseason only||Shayne Graham||4||Ravens, Texans, Saints|
In total there are twenty years of kickers experience by former Redskins kickers just since they were cut by Washington. That’s enough kicking experience to last us until FedEx Field is torn down, the Skins have drafted RGIII’s son (RGIV?) and Dan Snyder has vied for the 2048 Olympics to be in DC. Anyway, here’s a couple likely scenarios that could be paralleled by the now football bachelor Kai Forbath.
Graham Gano: He is by just about any measure the best kicker since leaving the Skins out of this bunch. He only played six games in 2012 (the year after he left the Redskins) but has been a top three kicker according to ProFootballFocus in both 2013 and 2014. He’s also the only kicker to be in the top three for both of those seasons. You know that thing the Redskins really didn’t like about Forbath, his kickoff distance? Gano was second in the league last year at 72 yards a pop. He also had the third most touchbacks in the league. Additionally he hit 92.3% of his kicks from 40-49 yards and only missed one from inside of 40. You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone right?
Shaun Suisham and Nick Novak: They have been on the same team for a long time (though Novak was recently cut) but statistically they weren’t great. Both Suisham and Novak could be described as workhorse kickers. They’ll get the job done and are worth keeping around because replacing them is too much of a risk. As surprising as it may seem, projecting kickers from college football isn’t a foolproof plan so sticking with someone who’s worked for you is worthwhile (hint to the Redskins).
While there have been other kickers that have left the Redskins and fared worse, I see Forbath falling into one of these two categories. He’s probably never going to have a canon for a leg but a team with an offense that can consistently get inside the thirty yard line could use an accurate kicker.
Word of advice for the Redskins new kicker Dustin Hopkins, I wouldn’t have the Redskins meet your parents just yet. The Skins are a bit of a tool when it comes to being with kickers, best to take a wait and see approach.
Fun side note about this kicker situation. Dustin Hopkins lost a kicking battle to Zach Hocker who the Skins drafted in the seventh round and then cut last year. Hocker is the kicker for the Saints (went 4-4 last week) and came in after another former Redskins kicker Shayne Graham was cut…. Maybe our sister site Canal Street Chronicles could do a similar article to this one.