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Bye week breakdown: Special teams

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Bye week breakdown: Special teams

Bye week breakdown: Special teams 

What’s working: Kai Forbath doesn't possess as strong a leg as Billy Cundiff, but he certainly is more accurate than the kicker he replaced. In his first four NFL games, in fact, the 25-year-old is 8 for 8 on field goals, making him one of only four kickers who remain perfect.  Of those attempts, Forbath has made five from 40-49 yards out and one from 50 yards. Cundiff, by comparison, made only three of his final eight field goals attempts before being released. 

Forbath’s only hiccup has been a blocked extra point that he kicked too low.

While it’s too soon to know if he’ll be the kicker that stops the Redskins’ revolving door at the position, he’s certainly off to a strong start.

The Redskins’ kick and punt coverage teams, rank 15th and 4th, respectively, in average yards per return. Neither unit has allowed a touchdown, although the punt coverage unit benefited from an illegal block in Pittsburgh to nullify Antonio Brown’s 76 yard score two weeks ago.

Against the Eagles, the Redskins expect to get regular long snapper Nick Sundberg back from the broken arm that has sidelined him the past eight games. 

What isn’t: Kick returner Brandon Banks usually ranks among the fastest players on the field, but he hasn’t been able to put that speed to good use often enough. He ranks 21st in average kick return (24.6 yards per), with a long of 55. On punts, he ranks 25th (6.2), with a long of only 27.

Whether it’s Banks' indecision or the blockers in front of him, the Redskins’ need him to be more of a factor in the final seven games.

The punt team, meanwhile, has steadied itself after having kicks blocked in each of the first two games. But a little concern remains about the health of punter Sav Rocca, who has kicked the past three weeks with a torn meniscus in his right (kicking) knee, and left Redskins Park last weak sporting a brace and walking with a limp. Rocca has shanked one punt since the injury but is determined to play through it.

What’s got to improve: Speaking of field position, the Redskins need Forbath to be better on kickoffs – a responsibility he did not perform during his distinguished tenure at UCLA. Of Forbath’s 21 field goals, only 38-percent gave been touchabcks. Cundiff, by comparison, sent 62 percent of his 29 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

A detail, to be sure, but the Redskins will need every advantage they can get down the stretch.

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Redskins' Josh Norman elected alternate NFLPA rep weeks after criticizing union

Redskins' Josh Norman elected alternate NFLPA rep weeks after criticizing union

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith made a visit to Redskins Park today, and the team elected their union representatives.

Kedric Golston will serve another year as the team's liason to the union. Three alternates were elected as well: Kirk Cousins (an alternate last season), Will Compton and, surprisingly, Josh Norman. 

Norman was critical of Smith and the union in an ESPN piece in August. "[The NFL] is a dictatorship, and [NFLPA director] DeMaurice [Smith] is in cahoots with those guys," he claimed. 

The cornerback's election today marks what would appear to be a turn of events. 

"We always love to have veteran leadership as player representatives, and this team is no different with Kirk and Kedric returning," Smith told CSN Mid-Atlantic. "As for Josh, we love players who are both smart and passionate, and he, as well as the other players, fit that bill."

MORE REDSKINS: Cravens declared NFL Clutch Performer of the Week

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Josh Norman fined for rough play against Giants

Josh Norman fined for rough play against Giants

Nearly a week after the Redskins win over the Giants, news broke that Washington CB Josh Norman has been fined for roughness in the New York victory.

UPDATE: Per ProFootballTalk, the fine was for a fourth quarter hit on Sterling Shepard and being a repeat offender.

For much of the Redskins-Giants game, Norman covered Odell Beckham almost exclusively. Not many moments stand out for being particularly physical save for a play early in the game when Beckham jumped in the end zone. The motion took him above Norman, but rather than letting Beckham come down to the ground, the corner grabbed and carried the receiver for a few yards.

Norman was flagged for roughness on a hit against Giants receiver Sterling Shepard. It's likely that hit triggered the fine. It's also worth pointing out that referees gave Norman a specific warning before the game about rough play, so it's possible being flagged for roughness despite the warning made an impact in the league offices as well. 

There is one other physical moment that stands out from the Giants/Redskins matchup - when Beckham violently swung his helmet at the Giants' kicking net. Beckham got the worst of the altercation though as the net flew back at him and socked him in the face.

Expect many questions about the fine to come.