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The Redskins could have an advantage with a less ‘accurate’ kicker

Sep 15, 2015, 9:01 AM EDT


Why would the Redskins cut an accurate field goal kicker like Kai Forbath?

It could not have been an easy call for Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan to make. The 2015 Redskins are likely to be in a lot of close games and Forbath has come through for Gruden. Last year, three of the team’s four wins came on Forbath field goals either in the late going or in overtime.

But Forbath’s field goal accuracy came at a cost. Forbath has struggled with his kickoffs during his NFL career. Last year he was 31st in the league in both percentage of kicks that went for touchbacks and average net kickoff distance.

“We were looking for a little bit of a stronger leg, especially on kickoffs,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”

But is Gruden potentially trading points for touchbacks? While we don’t know how new kicker Dustin Hopkins will do since he has no regular season NFL experience, if he can kick touchbacks consistently, the Redskins could be ahead of the game if he is even a below-average field goal kicker.

First of all, let’s dispose of the notion that Forbath is one of the most accurate field goal kickers in the game. Last year he was ninth in the NFL among kickers who had enough attempts (16) to qualify. He was good on 24 of 27 attempts, 88.9 percent. That’s fine, but not great (six kickers were over 90 percent) and, really, not very significant. Here’s why.

Let’s look at the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein, who ranked 26th with a field goals success percentage of 80.0. Is Forbath a better field goal kicker? Well, if Zuerlein had the same number of attempts as Forbath last year, he would have made 22, two fewer than Forbath. Depending on when those missed field goals happened, they could have been costly.

But if you look closer, you’ll see that Zuerlein attempted seven field goals of 50 yards or longer and made five of them. Forbath had zero attempts from 50 or longer. So two of Zurlein’s misses came on kicks that Forbath didn’t even attempt, presumably because they were out of his range. In the third quarter against the Dolphins, the Redskins were up 10-7 and had a fourth down at the Miami 36. With Forbath as their kicker, they punted and got a touchback. With a kicker with a stronger leg like Zuerlein they could have tried a 54-yard field goal and would have had about a 71 percent chance of taking a 13-7 lead that would have changed the complexion of the rest of the game.

Let’s look at the factor that Gruden cited, kickoffs. Last year Forbath had a net kickoff average (gross yards minus return yards and touchbacks X 20 yards) of 40.7 yards. Zuerlein’s average was 44.6. Rounding to the nearest yard line, an average Forbath kickoff ended with the other team taking possession at the 24 while Zuerlein’s ended up at the 20. Big deal? On one individual kick, maybe not. Over the course of a season it adds up.

According to some numbers crunchers who are much smarter than I am, a team that starts a drive that starts on the 24 has a 17.6 percent chance of scoring a touchdown and a 10.9 percent chance of making a field goal. For a team starting on the 20, the TD chances are 16.4 percent and 10.1 for a field goal. The average NFL team kicked off 81 times last year. So on average, following kickoffs the team that kicks to the 24 will allow 14 touchdowns and nine field goals while the team that kicks to the 20 will allow 13 TDs and eight field goals.

You don’t have to be a genius numbers cruncher to figure out that the defense giving up 10 fewer points with a kicker like Zuerlein slightly more than compensates for the six points lose being less “accurate” in field goals than Forbath. If you add in the chance that Zuerlein gives the team to score on an attempt from over 50 yards out the advantage goes to the less “accurate” kicker with the stronger leg.

Looking at it right now, we don’t know if Hopkins will miss a makeable field goal in a clutch situation. But in the big picture, if he can hit on 80 percent of his field goals, give the Redskins a chance to score when they get inside the opponent’s 40, and have opponents starting drives at the 20 more often than not, the move could end up being a net plus for Gruden and the Redskins.

  1. abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:10 AM

    If Hopkins misses kicks, everyone will want Kai back

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      Not me. Kai has missed plenty of kicks. If he misses make-able FGs it’s NEW kicker time.

      • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        Hmm, maybe I misremembered those kicks seeing as Kai was an 88% FG kicker in his time here. His long was 52 this preseason, he’s hit a 50 yarder and several in the 45 to 49 range.

        • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:08 AM

          Yes. I was encouraged by the made 50+ during preseason. But it doesn’t matter if the head coach doesn’t have faith in him from that distance. Maybe some weeks he has it and some he doesn’t. Maybe he had a tail wind in that preseason game. Surely you do remember the 12% of his field goals – the missed ones. Again, what kicker is not 80% or greater from inside 45? I’m sure he’ll find a good team that has a kick-off specialist where he’ll excel at making field goals inside 45 and get the percentage above 90% but you can’t miss what you don’t attempt and this team will need to attempt more long range field goals.

    • realfan82 - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      also he has a shorter field goal range. he’s not good beyond 50 yards. His longest is 50.

      • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        Kai made a 52 yarder this preseason! No sea I tell us! Nonsense! Lol

  2. smotion55 - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:29 AM

    punting from their 36 should all you need to say- touch back net 16 yards . bu– sh—t. that is the differance

  3. colorofmyskinz - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    I think the distance is more important than the accuracy by far. Getting rid of the possibility of returned kickoffs by kicking TBs is critical. Has been underrated for us for too long as we watch every team do it to us.

    Thank god they finally addressed this. Think about it, we don’t even attempt field goals beyond 50 yards. That impacts the 2 minute drill in a huge way. We have to turn 2 additional plays just to make up that difference, and we wonder why our 2 minute drill sucks.

    The impacts are huge. And the experts finally agreed.

    • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      Right, but if you’re inaccurate kicking a 50 yard FG doesn’t matter because your kicker is likely to miss it anyways.

      I’ll talk to you all in a month or so when Hopkins starts missing kicks Kai would have made.

      • colorofmyskinz - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        At least we can attempt them with a percentage make. With Kai it was a percentage of 0 attempts… Excuse me that means we miss 100% of them.

        • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:55 AM

          Was I not the only person who saw Kai boom a 52-yard FG through the uprights this preseason?

          He’s been kicking kicks into the endzone more this preseason and on Sunday. I think this is a huge mistake.

        • hk2000 - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:30 PM

          I just made a comment below, but I’ll reiterate, this stinks of scapegoating. If your defense is loose until the other team gets down to your 30 yard line or so then tightens up, then you should give your kicker a chance to try on the 4th down from the 36 yard line- in my opinion the defense’s odds of stopping them when they start at their 20 yard line as opposed to their 36, is not much more, but this coach has the blandest of football minds in all of the NFL, and he’s the reason the team will stink all season long.

      • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:01 AM

        Unless, Kai is a personal friend of yours, I don’t understand why you are so obstinate about this. Every kicker misses kicks. Let’s not make Kai out to be automatic because he is far from it. The Reskins didn’t have the ball in the red zone but once on Sunday and scored a TD. Every other drive stalled just outside the red zone where you need an accurate kicker from distance or the balls to go for it. The kicker was 50% from over 45 and didn’t attempt and NFL make-able kick from 50+ resulting in 16 yards net in the field position battle which this team needs to win. So the team came away with THREE points out of a possible nine and then throw in another missed six of possible points when the offense penalized themselves out of FG range and Cousins throw the pick at the two from 3rd and 13 at the 29.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:54 AM

        The league average for plus 50 was 61%. I’m not saying that this a high percentage but a better than average that most NFL kickers can clear a plus 50 yard kick. I think where Kai hurts us is by not having a high level of confidence he can make those distance kicks, we are giving up field advantage to the opponent. We’ll see what this change will net us in games this season, but it would be nice to have a kicker that can step in and get us a 55 yard kick in a clutch situation.

      • ajbus1 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:38 PM

        Just be honest abanig. You’re mad because you had Forbath on your fantasy team and named them CobraKai… jk

        • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 7:52 PM

          Haha. Nah, I’m upset because we let go the best kicker we’ve had since Lohemiller because our kick coverage units have sucked ever since Lorenzo Alexander wasn’t retained and Danny Smith wisely chose to get the hell out of Redskins Park!

          I find it hilarious that most Redskins fans wanted Danny Smith gone for nearly 10 years and ever since he’s been gone the special teams have been some of the worst in the NFL.

          Just goes to show ya, most fans overreact and don’t know anything.

        • ajbus1 - Sep 16, 2015 at 2:28 AM

          Ah Lomiller. Those were the days. Maybe we should hire him as the kicking coordinator. It worked for Dallas to have goofy coordinators last year. I agree about the overreacting of the fans and miss Smith but I’ve kinda been hoping for a change at kicker.

  4. sidepull - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    If they were so concerned, why not pull the trigger last year with their own draft pick, Hocker? Hocker demonstrated in camp all the qualities they are now looking for in this kid, that coincidentally Hocker beat out with the Saints this year in camp. Wonder how much Scot had to do with this?

    • colorofmyskinz - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      SCOT would have kept Hocker last year over Kai. As evidenced by taking the guy Hocker beat. Both better than Kai.

      A True talent assessor is on our team now. Keep in mind, how well have our talent assessor a done in the past?? The same ones that decided to keep Kai over Hocker. Just checking.

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      I suspect they weighed the pros and cons last year and chose experience making field goals and after a year plus of poor kick-offs and no faith in their kicker from beyond 50 they decided a new direction was needed. This isn’t a knee jerk reaction. This is move based on what they have experienced with Kai and the team they have. Sunday, they didn’t get into the redzone but once and converted the touchdown. They had four other drives that stalled outside of the redzone but within field goal range. They came away with 3 out of 12 points.

      • ET - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM

        I don’t think it was a knee jerk reaction, either, despite what the Twitterverse would have us believe. This was a known issue, one that should’ve been solved last year or in the offseason.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:28 PM

      I wasn’t happy that they cut Hocker.

      This is the same argument, with a year wasted. And now we have the guy Hocker beat out .

  5. renhoekk2 - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Kickers are like every other position. There a few really good elite ones, and then there is everyone else. Forbath was in that everyone else pile. Hopkins or Forbath? Neither is elite so does it really matter?

  6. colmac69 - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    U could say the punter could put ball inside ten yrd line instead of touch back

    U kick from 54 and miss (no matter who kicker is u give miami ball on your own 46)

    Nice stats but all they are a projections….

    If new guys costs us two victories for argument sake he won’t last long no matter how many touch backs he has

    hopefully new guy can b consistent with fgs as it’s obvious he has strong leg

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      1. Yep, Way needs to improve on pooch punts but I’d rather have a CHANCE at three points instead of having to choose between trying to execute the pooch punt or go for it on 4th and 13.

      2. Yep. Again it would be nice to have this as a legitimate part of the decision process when down by three at the end of the game, up by four/five in the 4th quarter, at halftime, or a few other scenarios where you can’t even consider the option because it doesn’t exist.

      3. Here’s some more math for you. Take 30 attempts at 80% and you make 24 field goals. Kai made 24 field goals out of 27 attempts but didn’t attempt one from 50+ last year. I’d rather have the guy that makes a few 50+ FGs than the ‘reliable’ one who didn’t give your coaches enough confidence to try any attempts from that distance. THESE KICKERS ARE THE SAME. But who knows you could get better.

      4. True. It’s not so much that the new guy is better as much as it is you’ve seen enough from the old guy and his skill set isn’t the best for this team.

      5. Crossing my fingers but expecting that the kicking carousel is just getting warmed up.

  7. goback2rfk - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:13 AM

    Cutting the kicker, benching RG3 again, poor clock management. Gruden is on the fast track to unemployment.

    Tress way is more than capable of Kicking the ball off and Kicking it through the end zone. Why not let Tress do the Kick Offs and Forbaith kick the field goals.
    Who knows, if this new kicker struggles Gruden is going to have to save face.

    • wncskinsfan - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:11 PM

      lmao. really?

      • goback2rfk - Sep 16, 2015 at 12:07 AM

        No I was just messing around. I total get the decision to cut him. I like kickers with long range. 55 yarders

  8. bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:25 AM

    Top shelf, Rich!

  9. gonavybeatarmy - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    Excellent analysis.

    Forbath is a pretty reliable PK from 45 and in, but so is the rest of the league. This isn’t the 1980s. As a Skins fan, it’s frustrating as hell watching Justin Tucker create touchbacks every time. It’s such an advantage for the Ravens to know that on practically every kickoff situation the opposing offense will begin their drive no better the 20.

    Good luck, Kai. He’s a good guy. And that OT kick vs the Ravens in 2012 when the field was such a mess due to weather conditions is a great memory. It wasn’t a long kick but the field was awful and the pressure of the situation was enormous. Walking out of Fed Ex Field that day with arrogant Ravens (the eventual Super Bowl winner) fans sure of a win was special. The Skins had to win every game to avoid being eliminated after a 3-6 start, and Forbath was a big reason for the team’s rare Snyder-era success that season.

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      Well said.

  10. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:41 AM

    It all makes so much sense until the first time the new kicker misses a 30 yard game winner. I agree with Rich’s analysis but I do know others will be quick to abort on a guy who starts missing on the seemingly automatic chip shots. However, just remember that is a game decided mostly on field advantage and that is why Kai is gone.

  11. greed - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    my main concern is actually the extra point being pushed bk to a 33yd attempt that was his money range if this new guy misses them then what

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:01 PM

      “if this new guy misses them then what”

      It will make him the 5th kicker of the season to miss an extra point.

      • greed - Sep 17, 2015 at 1:55 PM

        skins in no position to have the 5th kicker to miss extra pt! They scored count them ten pts sun. There no margin for error especially on a bad special team how bout go down cover the damn kick may be stop the returner from getting to the 20 every now and them instead of being scared of austin do ya job and actually coach up your players idc who teams coach is your the head coach buc stops with gruden

      • greed - Sep 17, 2015 at 1:56 PM

        skins in no position to have the 5th kicker to miss extra pt! They scored count them ten pts sun. There no margin for error especially on a bad special team how bout go down cover the damn kick may be stop the returner from getting to the 20 every now and then instead of being scared of austin and cuttin a fairly reliable kicker for the unknown do ya job and actually coach up your players idc who teams coach is your the head coach buc stops with gruden

        • bangkokben - Sep 17, 2015 at 2:16 PM

          So you want to hold accountable the head coach for the kicker’s inability to kick off (not just out of the end zone but also to set up the coverage teams) and the special teams’ inability to stop the returner from getting out to the 20 (due mostly to the kicker)? How? If he’s not allowed to replace the kicker (the primary source of the problem) then replacing the head coach will somehow fix this??? Maybe he should Knighton putting his 400 lbs kicking off. Or maybe the coach needs to take over the talent additions to the roster? Sure, I’m sure there was a better solution but pray tell, what was it?

  12. drunksapper - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    They need a new punter.

    People keep ragging on special teams as a whole, but that return for a TD was mainly on the punter. It was an atrocious kick, right to the middle of the field with zero hang time.

    That would been a big return or TD with most teams. The punter didn’t give the coverage a chance.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      I thing that is just Crazy, Tress is one of the best punters out there. If someone out kicks the coverage, it’s not the punters fault as much as it was the coverage teams inability sustain their lanes. Many teams would love to have Tress leg punting the ball for them.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        I agree he needed a much better hang time but Tress is more of a benefit than detriment to this team.

      • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:47 PM

        The Redskinsnhave been searching for a kicker as consistent as Forbath since 1994. They’ve been searching for a young punter with the leg and potential as Tress Way since they had Matt Turk in the late 90s and early 2000s.

        Getting rid of Kai was a mistake based on how many big kicks he’s made for us and he’s nearly automatic from 45 and in. Tress way is the best punter this team has had in about 15 years also.

        This team can’t go cutting players just because of one bad play here or there throughout the season, if they do, their wont be one person left on the roster!

        • ET - Sep 15, 2015 at 2:38 PM

          In general, I agree with your position re: cutting players. And Tress Way is a fantastic punter.

          Forbath’s leg strength is/was a real issue, however. I don’t think they trusted him beyond 48 yards, which is too little in the current era. It’s difficult to argue that his lack of touchbacks wasn’t a huge concern, not with the coverage unit’s recent history. If he could’ve fixed the touchback issue, I think Forbath would’ve stayed.

      • ajbus1 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:42 PM

        I agree with you ‘name’. I think he took the blame because he’s stepping up as a captain but Landry was nearly untouched and went right up the gut on us. The coverage let that one up.

    • sidepull - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:47 PM

      Tress Way, a team captain, is not the Redskins problem. He promptly admitted he erred this weekend and that he understands he cannot do that again. Many teams would be jumping for joy to have a punter like him in the fold. The Redskins own version of Reggie Roby.

    • wncskinsfan - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:13 PM

      youre an idiot. period. enjoy.

  13. raycin - Sep 15, 2015 at 12:27 PM

    Points are overrated too. I guess everyone forgot that before Forbath came along the skins couldn’t find a kicker who could make a fg during a game. I guess that’s a luxury they can live without.

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      Field position creates and lose points just the same as made and missed field goals do. A game of kickoffs that wind up at the 30 is not as obvious as a kick sailing wide right but it costs points just the same.

      • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:57 PM

        I’ll be waiting for the column you write when Hopkins misses an extra point that could tie a game during the season.

        It’s a bunch of Bologna that 5 or 10 yards in field position make s big difference on a kick off return vs a kicker who makes nearly 90% of his FGs.

        • Rich Tandler - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:46 PM

          It’s 2015. We now know that sacks are not all the fault of the OL and that field position matters.

          The numbers are what they are. It makes intuitive sense as well.

          Field position costs points just as much as a missed 46-yard field goal does. It’s not as visible immediately but it does sure as I’m sitting here.

          I don’t know if Hopkins will work out or not. I’m not necessarily endorsing him. But the thought of clinging to an “accurate”, weak-legged kicker because he’s “reliable” on short field goals is antiquated thinking and I’m glad the Redskins seem committed to finding someone who who can pound the ball through the end zone. You know, like virtually every other team in the NFL has done.

        • ajbus1 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:44 PM

          Oh snap!

  14. vcuramsfan - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:04 PM

    I never understood why we wanted to test our kick off coverage team every time we score (which I know is not often!) We are horrible at stopping big returns in kick off and punt coverage. If we can find a kicker who almost always gets us a touchback, then that is a HUGE bonus!!

  15. lpddawg - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    Should have never let Gano go.I still cant figure that one out.

    • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      Gano isn’t as accurate as Forbath. That’s why Gano was cut for Cundiff and then Cundiff was cut for Gano. Kai was a key cog for the redskins in their 7 game win streak in the 2012 season where he made 17 in a row I believe. Last year he ended the season on a similar streak. He wa kicking the ball off better and he made a 52 yard FG in the preseason.

      Gano wasn’t very accurate last year, we aren’t missing him. He was an 83% kicker last year and he missed two FGs in the Panthers game against the Jaguars last Saturday.

      • Rich Tandler - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:48 PM

        Kicking off better? What, was he going to improve to 29th in the NFL?

        • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:57 PM

          He kicked the ball into the endzone. If a returner beings the kick out then it’s the job of our coverage unit to go down and make a tackle.

          The coverage units blow for the skins and have for 3 years now, people should be upset about that and not about our punter and kicker.

        • Rich Tandler - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:54 PM

          Well, there are no magic beans to make the return units better. You have to go after the available solution.

          And even if you do have a good return unit it’s still better to kick it in the fourth row like Franks did on Sunday.

        • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 8:12 PM

          What the front office should have done was focus on drafting and signing special teams players who had speed! Guys like a Justin Rogers. You fix the coverage units by getting fast guys who can tackle as your gunners. The skins gunners aren’t fast enough.

          Cooley said on the punt return Landry returned for a touchdown it looked like the coverage unit was just running a gasser down the field. He said they looked extremely slow. They were just running down the field, they weren’t running toward Landry, staying in their lanes and aiming to tackle him.

          He had Steve Czaban watch it also and he couldn’t believe either, our team is extremely slow! That’s our main problem.

    • Smanny - Sep 15, 2015 at 9:35 PM

      U just said the smartest thing I read on here. U seem to be the only one that knows what there talking about

  16. shermanp79 - Sep 15, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I don’t understand why this didn’t happen much sooner, even last season. We had Hocker here as a draft pick.OK maybe he wasn’t ready last year but why not bring in more than a camp leg? I have said for a long time, his lack of FG distance will eventually hurt the team. In the NFL today K regularly attempt and convert multiple 50 yard kicks a year, even a game. The leg strength is important, obviously with poor coverage kicks not returned is a big plus. We didn’t even have a shot attempting that 66 yard FG against MIA.

    I think it’s a great article when you break down the differences. This may not be the right guy but we are building, let’s find one now. Not when we are ready to win big games.

    • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 2:01 PM

      Who the eff makes 66 yard FG in the NFL?


      • shermanp79 - Sep 18, 2015 at 11:12 AM

        ok…obviously it was a typo. It was a 55 yarder. Obviously above I’m speaking of guys hitting beyond 50, not 60 yards. DUH!!

        • abanig - Sep 18, 2015 at 1:01 PM

          Like the 52 yarder Kai hit in preseason and the 49 & 50 yarders he’s made in games before.

          Name one kicker who consistent makes FGs that are longer than that. Maybe once a year a kicker on a team will make a 52 to 60 yard field goal, but this not something that every kicker in the nfl is doing every week.

  17. kenlinkins - Sep 15, 2015 at 2:37 PM

    While the math seems correct, IMO releasing Forbath was more about message then math! I am pretty sure both the GM and Gruden understood “The Math” before the season opener (and if they didn’t, they both should be gone). I believe that the coach and GM talked about Forbath and that the head coach wanted to keep Forbath out of loyalty (which is commendable) and the GM went along (Hopkins was free over 7 days before the season opener, so he could have been signed if the GM really wanted to replace Forbath, so what changed on Sunday). The GM has said that “this is a big mans game” and I guess that go’s for legs on kickers as well as O-Linemen. This GM corrected his mistake after watching the Redskins punt from the Dolphins 36 yard line after missing a 46 yard field goal. The message is clear from the new GM, “Do as I want or be gone”. The new GM wanted better hang time (like Forbath’s 2nd kick off,) or deeper line drive kicks that shot out the back of the end zone (which Forbath didn’t do in 3 try’s) OR make field goals 95% of the time from 45 yards and closer. So, The Head Coach has either burned up some good will with the GM by being wrong on Forbath or he threw Forbath under the bus as reasons why he didn’t go on 4th and 1, lost points on missed a FG and HAd to play for TD’s, and only had 1 of 3 touchbacks on his kick offs. Nether of these makes me feel better about coach Gruden, who I am starting to question as a “2nd year head coach with a lot of up side”. I will require more proof of that statement before I buy into it again.

    • Rich Tandler - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      I’m not so sure that there was any message sending involved here. Just like the Lions game was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Griffin, the missed FG and generally weak kickoffs vs. Miami pushed the case to change kickers over the finish line.

      • hk2000 - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:06 PM

        What broke the camels back? This saying refers to an inadvertent incident that surpasses a specific threshold. In Griffin’s case, the whole thing was a coach that made sure the camels back will break- he actually planned the whole game around the intent of breaking his back.

      • kenlinkins - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:28 PM

        I wonder how many more “Weak Backs” the Redskins have on the roster.

        • ajbus1 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:51 PM

          Hilarious! But hopefully not many.

      • ajbus1 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:51 PM

        Thanks for that insight Rich. I was just about to ask you about the “message” being sent or not. I was thinking it was part of Forbath being cut but you know more about it than I do. The math makes even more sense than I thought. Bravo on the write up.

      • wncskinsfan - Sep 15, 2015 at 11:17 PM

        like rich said. no wait. duh. its a consipiracy. due is white. so is tom brady. somebody else is black. rgiii got a different playbook, duh. oh yeah. morons.

  18. hk2000 - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:17 PM

    That was a very informative article and you make a very good counter intuitive point. On the other hand, the Redskins have gotten rid of kickers many times before and lived to regret it- in fact kickers is just about the only players the Skins release that end up being very good on other teams, another thing is, even though no one on the team or the media is saying it, it came across as scapegoating, and we know how good our coach is at doing that. I’d rather a coach that thinks outside the box, this coach’s ways are so typical of the conventional coach- as in most coaches always look for a scapegoat every time they start losing.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:58 PM

      I’m not sure it is scapegoating in this case. I think it’s about the weakness of the coverage team that has lost so many key players. It’s not only vulnerable but an inexperienced group.

  19. abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:34 PM

    For those who say cutting the kicker sends a message to the rest of the team that they need tom play better, those people are totally wrong!

    Kickers get cut all the time, most players don’t even see them as true football players.

    If McCloughan/Gruden wanted to send a message to the team, they should have cut Amerson!

    Now that’d send a message!

    • cowboyhater - Sep 15, 2015 at 3:56 PM

      Thanks for the insight Mr. GM. Maybe you can interview for the job when it comes available……..

      • abanig - Sep 15, 2015 at 8:23 PM

        If I had that job over the last 8 years I can tell ya the team would look a lot different than it does.

        For 1, I would have hired Gregg Williams in 08. That way, Shanahan would have never been hired and Donovan McNabb would have never been traded for.

        If Gregg Williams is our HC in 2011, I don’t think we trade back. I think we take JJ Watt or Robert Quinn with the 10th pick. I wouldn’t have drafts Jarvis Jenkins in round 2, he was rated as a late 3rd on my board.

        I definitely would have drafted a FS in the first 3 rounds in the last 8 years. I wouldn’t have tried to make Cofield a NT, I woud have played him at DE and signed or drafted a different NT. Amongst other things.

        I could keep going. Some of the moves this org does makes zero sense.

    • goback2rfk - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:50 PM

      Amerson will be a star corner back some day possibly for the Jets

      • gasngo14 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:55 PM

        Are you turning into a Jet fan …..? I mean, you keep saying all these guys going to the Jets and make it sound like Canton is the next stop after the Jets…….Hmm

  20. redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    Rahsad Ross is taking kickoff duties next week. I’m sure he’ll be involved in the passing game as well to give the team a much needed deep threat option. Let’s see how Ross does against the big boys on the field.

    • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 5:34 PM

      I’d like to put Terrance Knighton back there. Then maybe they’ll kick it to us. Maybe DY would be good returner if it forces the opponent to consider kicking it to us. I suspect Ross won’t touch the ball unless the Rams sign Forbath.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 5:56 PM

        Maybe we can have Ricky Jean Francis do his Jelly Bean Dance in the end zone to throw kicker off.

        • bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:25 PM

          That would be awesome.

  21. bangkokben - Sep 15, 2015 at 5:27 PM

    Kai Forbath is an accurate place kicker that wouldn’t make an NFL roster had the kickoffs not been returned to the 35-yard line. He has kicked some good games for the Redskins and was clutch in 2012 when he made his first 17 attempts as a pro. He has been VERY accurate in the regular season only missing three field goals under 40 yards in his Redskin career – one of which was blocked. So, God bless Kobra Kai and I sincerely wish him well.

    BUT, as for his tenure with Jay Gruden, Forbath is 25/29 (86%) and the Redskins have lost each of the three games in which Kai has missed a FG. Here is the log on his misses with Gruden as his head coach:

    First game against Philly last year (3rd game of the season) with the score tied 27-27, Forbath misses a 33-yarder and the Redskins eventually lose 37-34. Not a good way to impress your new boss. Then Forbath rattles in 11 straight before the bye. After the bye against Tampa, trailing 10-0 in the 2nd quarter, Forbath misses from 47. Later in the 3rd quarter still trailing (13-7), Forbath again misses. This time from 50. The very next series Tampa connects on a back breaking TD bomb and there is a 10 point swing. From this moment on, the Redskins don’t attempt another kick longer than 46 yards for the rest of the season despite having three to four legitimate opportunities. Forbath, meanwhile finishes the season with a perfect 9 for 9. Then Sunday another miss from just outside his magic range of 45. So Forbath goes 2/5 on kicks between 45 and 50 since last year’s bye – not including any possible attempts more than 50 yards that the team would have tried had they had a kicker with a stronger leg. That is 40%!

    More importantly, that is the range where the Redskins have to convert. Had Cousins not thrown the second interception the Redskins would’ve had 4th and 13 from Miami’s 29 – a possible 47-yard FG attempt. If anyone watched the Ravens against the Broncos, you can see how important it is to have an accurate kicker from that distance. As both kickers were a combined 6/6 and 3/3 from beyond 50 in the thin air.

    I have no idea if the new guy is going to be any good and I seriously doubt if he’ll be as accurate as Forbath but if he’s 60% accurate from 46 yards and out, that would be a major improvement. This team needs to score from distance and when it gets in the red zone, it needs touchdowns. So far, one for one from the red zone and one FG out of the other five drives they got inside of Miami’s 30. (The last one being the turnover on downs – down by four with 2:27 left to go.)

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:38 PM

      All well stated and in the end I just think Kai was a circumstance of the coverage situation. Honestly, I prefer big leg kickers that can give us a chance on a 55 yard. I totally understand we can’t afford to have a kicker that misses within 45 yards. However, if you look at the accuracy of most kickers even inside 45, you’d Kai only gets a slight edge. As a kick off specialist, he is a huge liability.

      • colmac69 - Sep 15, 2015 at 6:57 PM

        The margins between winning and losing in majority of games is paper thin

        Winning is the bottom line and if we had won sun all the talk about qb..kicker..special teams wouldn’t b happening….winning makes lots of things go away

        Unfortunately teams like washington always appear on losing side of the ledger and until we can turn close games like sun into wins then we be having discussion like this for nxt 16wks

  22. RussianBreadMaker - Sep 16, 2015 at 2:28 AM

    “You don’t have to be a genius numbers cruncher to figure out that the defense giving up 10 fewer points with a kicker like Zuerlein slightly more than compensates for the six points lose being less “accurate” in field goals than Forbath.”

    Can someone translate this for me?

    • abanig - Sep 16, 2015 at 7:30 AM

      10 yards on a kick off = 10 points in a game?

      Seriously, I have zero clue! Very rarely does 10 yards on a kick off make a difference in a team scoring or not. I don’t care what the geeks say on their analytics. The problem has been the coverage units since Danny smith and Zo left.

      We didn’t have this problem in 2012 when we won the division

    • jonevans511 - Sep 16, 2015 at 12:27 PM

      You need to take the prior paragraph and apply it to your quoted section. Abanig below, you missed the point. It’s not 10 points in a game, it’s 10 points cumulatively over the course of a season:

      “So on average, following kickoffs the team that kicks to the 24 will allow 14 touchdowns and nine field goals while the team that kicks to the 20 will allow 13 TDs and eight field goals.” This means one extra TD, one extra field goal, for 10 points over the course of a season.

      Based on the stats Rich outlined you end up, over time, allowing more points when your kickoffs go a shorter distance. Is this analysis 100% flawless? Of course not, as teams can score from their own goal line and teams can score from their opponents 40 yard line when it comes to field position. But on AVERAGE, there’s more value (10 points over the course of a season) in kicking deeper kickoffs. Even when you factor in the FG misses that a more “inaccurate” kicker ( in Rich’s example, this means Zeurlein vs Forbath) would have, Rich’s point is it may be a more valuable tradeoff to take the deeper kickoffs and sacrifice a couple missed FGs (I should say a couple more than Forbath would miss). Hopefully this makes a little more sense, not really that complicated. Archives

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