By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
Twenty questions No. 8—Can Kai Forbath repeat his 2012 magic?
The 2013 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 20 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
This time last year, few around these parts had ever heard of Kai Forbath. Now, he’s one of the team’s most important pieces and the NFL’s most accurate kicker. The 25-year-old connected on 17 of 18 field goals (94.4 percent) in 2012, including 11 of 11 from 40-49 yards and 1 of 1 from 50-plus yards out. He also set the record for consecutive field goals to open a career at 17. If he remains consistent on field goals and improves his kickoffs (only 15 touchbacks on 62 attempts), Forbath could become one of the league’s stars.
El-Bashir: Among all of the first year players who enjoyed a significant amount of success last season, Forbath is the one I’m least concerned about. His California cool disposition seems to serve him well in the pressure cooker environment a NFL kicker must thrive in. He also seems to be set up for sophomore success: same consistent snapper (Nick Sundberg), same unflappable holder (Sav Rocca). Kicking is about mental toughness, routine and confidence. And right now, Forbath has all three of them. The Redskins did bring in a kickoff specialist (John Potter) to provide some competition. But I just don’t see Coach Mike Shanahan keeping two kickers when roster spots are already so scarce.
Tandler: I predict that at some point this season, fans will want to send Forbath back to the ranks of the unemployed. That doesn’t mean that Forbath will go into the tank. But only a handful of kickers will hit on 90 percent of their field goals this season and many of them will play their home games in domes and/or on field turf. It’s asking a bit much for Forbath to hit 17 out of every 18 field goals. He’ll go through a few mini slums where he misses two out of three. The challenge for Mike Shanahan and new special teams coach Keith Burns will be to make sure a slump doesn’t turn into an extended funk. As Tarik noted, the presence of Sundberg and Rocca will help smooth out rough spots. I’m not quite so confident that Forbath can become a star but if Griffin and the offense can take the next step a missed field goal here and there won’t have much of an impact.
Upcoming on 20 questions
- Question 6 Friday: What can the rookie defensive backs contribute this year?
- Question 5 Saturday: Can Brandon Meriweather do what he flashed last year for a full season?
- Question 4 Sunday: What will the depth chart at right tackle look like?