Over the next week, Redskins reporter Tarik El-Bashir will examine five candidates to break out in 2013. Today, we’re looking at K Kai Forbath.
Key stats: 11 games, 17 of 18 on field goals, 33 of 34 on extra points.
Contract status: Signed through 2014 ($480,000 in ’13 and $570,000 in ’14).
2012: Forbath impressed talent evaluators while in Tampa Bay’s training camp last fall, but the first-year kicker did not get a regular season opportunity until the Redskins cut Billy Cundiff in Week 5. Forbath beat out veterans Olindo Mare and Josh Brown in a mid-week competition at Redskins Park, then booted a 50-yarder in his debut against Minnesota five days later.
Forbath would make his next 16 attempts, breaking the NFL record for consecutive field goals to start a career. The 25-year-old also made 11 of his 11 attempts from 40-49 yards out. His only miss – a 37-yarder in the regular season finale against the Cowboys – came on a less-than-ideal surface at FedEx Field and grazed the upright.
Kickoffs, though, were another story for Forbath, who starred at UCLA as a field goal kicker but did not handle kickoff duty. As a Redskin, Forbath only forced 15 touchbacks on 62 kickoffs while opponents returned 72.6 of his kickoffs, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
Outlook: Forbath’s accuracy on field goals, though, far outweighed his short kickoffs. In fact, his 94.4-percentage not only led the NFL, Coach Mike Shanahan said it changed the way he called plays once the Redskins were inside the kicker's range.
After the Redskins were eliminated, Forbath returned to Southern California, where he said he intends to spend the offseason increasing his leg strength while honing his technique on kickoffs, which need more distance and hang time. His average kickoff distance was 64.2 yards, which ranked 27th among kickers who appeared in at least 10 games, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
If Forbath is able to improve on kickoffs and remain in the 90-percent range on field goals, he'll develop into one of the NFL’s most well-rounded kickers.