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So far, so good for Forbath

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So far, so good for Forbath

It’s an admittedly small sample size, but Kai Forbath has proven to be a shrewd pickup for the Redskins.

Although the 25-year-old California native had never kicked a field goal in an NFL regular season game, the Redskins signed him Oct. 9 to replace struggling veteran Billy Cundiff. And so far, all the first-year kicker has done is make every kick he’s attempted.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity,” Forbath said of his perfect start. “I didn’t know if it was going to come this year or next year or when. I’m just trying to go out there and take advantage of every chance I get and keep this streak going.” 

It’s quite a turnaround for a player who, just a few weeks ago, didn’t know when – or if – he would get his first legitimate crack at a fulltime job in the NFL.

Named college’s top kicker in 2009 as a junior at UCLA, Forbath was released by Tampa Bay after connecting on all five of his preseason attempts, including a 55-yarder. Despite his stellar performance, the Buccaneers kept standout veteran Connor Barth.

Although Tampa Bay’s decision didn’t stun Forbath, it didn’t make getting cut any less disappointing. In some ways, he said, it inspired him.

“I hadn’t picked a year where it was going to be like, ‘Okay, that’s it. I’m giving up,’” he said. “But it definitely was hard that first week after playing in the preseason and now I was back on the couch watching. That was the hardest time.” 

He added: "It hurt at first. Then it kind of motivated me."

So Forbath continued to practice and wait for his opportunity. Then he got the call from the Redskins, who decided to jettison Cundiff after he made only two of six attempts over a two game span.

Six days after arriving in Washington, Forbath’s first field goal attempt in a regular season game was a 50-yarder goal against the Vikings. The kick backed up his reputation for owning a strong leg. Against the Giants last Sunday, he showed his knack for accuracy, connecting on kicks of 20, 43 and 45 yards. 

Although Cundiff never seemed to get into a rhythm with long snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca, Forbath has developed chemistry with the veterans right away. 

“I just know these guys have been doing it a long time, a lot longer than I have,” Forbath said. “I know they’re good and they’ll get the ball down. I just have to trust that, just like I would with anybody else, and kick it like I normally do.”

Forbath said kickoffs are the area where he would like to improve. At Metlife Stadium last week, he put five of his six kicks into the end zone. But the Giants’ David Wilson returned four of them for a total of 106 yards, including a 32-yarder.

“We’ve had some success on field goals but we’ve got some work to do on kickoffs,” Forbath said. “You have to have a combination of hang time, distance and direction. That would be a perfect kick. We’re working on getting all that working.”

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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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In case you missed it

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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