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Kai Forbath’s sophomore season in Washington hasn’t gone as smoothly as his first. But the Redskins’ kicker says he hopes to cap a challenging 2013 campaign with a strong finish.
Forbath could do no wrong in 2012. He set the NFL record for consecutive field goals to start a career with 17 and also led the league in field goal percentage at 94.4.
This season, though, Forbath suffered a groin muscle injury during practice and missed Weeks 2-4 as a result. He returned to the lineup in Dallas, but then long snapper Nick Sundberg sustained a season-ending knee injury, throwing a wrench into what was becoming one of the league’s more reliable field goal operations.
“It started off a little weird because of the injury,” Forbath said this week. “But I feel like, after having [replacement long snapper Kyle Nelson] here for a little while, we’re getting more rhythm now and converting more field goals. That’s what we’re here for: when the call for us, it’s to get points.”
He added: “The last few weeks, we’ve been doing a better job of that. The season hasn’t gone as planned, obviously, but we’re definitely ending on a positive.”
Indeed, since having two field goals blocked in last month’s win over the Chargers, Forbath has been perfect, connecting on all 11 of the field goals he’s attempted the past seven games. Overall, he’s 16 of 20 (80 percent) on the season.
Forbath’s best performance came in last week’s 24-23 loss to the Cowboys. He made field goals of 22, 36 and 47 yards. He also recorded touchbacks on three of his six kickoffs, which drew praise from Coach Mike Shanahan.
“He did a great job,” Shanahan said. “He had great hang time when he did kick it. A lot of times when you kick it to the goal line or two or three-yard line, everybody looks at the distance. It’s not always the distance, it’s the hang time. So I was pleased with the way he kicked.”
Forbath has recorded 14 touchbacks on 54 kickoffs, but he says he knows he can do better than his touchback percentage (25.9) indicates.
“They felt good last week,” he said of his kickoffs. “It’s something I’ve always known I could do. It’s just a matter of doing it. The more you do them, the more repetition you have it, the more consistent your swing and contact [become]. I’ll just keep working to improve on those every year. Hopefully next year will be even better.”