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.”