Last season proved to be an uneven one for Redskins kicker Kai Forbath.
After being sidelined Weeks 2-4 with a groin muscle strain, Forbath connected on only five of eight field goal tries in the next four games, including a pair of blocked attempts against San Diego.
Forbath, however, returned to health -- and his 2012 form -- over the final eight contests, going a perfect 13 of 13.
The 26-year-old told CSNWashington.com over the weekend that he expects to carry the momentum from that late surge into 2014.
“We finished strong, so there’s a little momentum going, at least for our position,” Forbath said at the Big Train Celebrity Softball Classic. “We’re getting [long snapper] Nick [Sundberg] back [from a knee injury]. We don’t have a holder yet. But as far as trusting that the snap will be there, I know that will be there. So we’re going to build off of how we finished last year, definitely.”
Forbath spent the first three months of the offseason in his native Southern California practicing with his personal coach, Ignacio “Nacho” Brache, as well as a snapper and a holder from his days at UCLA.
And while Forbath worked to polish his mechanics and improve his accuracy, he also spent a significant amount of time working to fix one of his flaws -- the hang time and distance of his kickoffs. In 2013, Forbath ranked 25th in touchback percentage (23.2).
“I got some good work in,” Forbath said. “That’s just going to keep improving, improving and improving. It’s just the more you do it, the better you’re going to get at it. So there definitely will be an improvement this year.”
Working on kickoff distance is also a delicate balancing act. Too many reps can increase the probability of a muscle strain, such as the one he suffered last season.
“We kicked quite a bit [in training camp and preseason],” Forbath said. “It’s a learning process. We’ll make sure I’m healthy for the whole season this year.”
Forbath’s other challenge this offseason will be developing timing and rhythm in the field goal operation with a new holder. Sundberg is back, but veteran punter/holder Sav Rocca was released last month. Right now, punters Robert Malone and Blake Clingan are splitting holding duties.
“It’s a competition,” Forbath said. “I’ve worked with both of them and both have been getting the job done. So we’ll see.”