If Kai Forbath had enough career field goal attempts under his belt, he would rank as the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. That stat is truly hard to believe once you consider the way Redskins fans regard Forbath.
Despite knocking 59 of 67 career kicks through the uprights, Forbath seems consistently to draw the ire of Burgundy and Gold supporters. And while there’s no denying that he’s a below-average kickoff guy and he’s not the best on long range field goals, the bottom line is this: Forbath is better than most of his peers at making football’s version of the three-point shot.
However, cries for the Redskins to move on from Forbath have risen above their normal levels this summer, with many reporting that #2 is struggling mightily in training camp. In fact, head coach Jay Gruden went as far as to call Forbath’s camp performance “puzzling” and “surprising” on Monday, which will only raise concerns that Washington is doomed when it comes to the kicker position.
But before people begin rushing the team’s headquarters with torches and pitchforks, it’s worth noting that the free agent pool for kickers isn’t especially deep. Here are the names the Redskins would be looking at if they decided to cut ties with Forbath:
Ty Long : The other guy on the Redskins roster. The 22-year-old out of UAB was 16 out of 24 in his last season at school, so even though he’s younger and has room to grow, it’s not like he was outstanding in college. Also, do Redskins fans really want to hand over the gig to someone with no NFL experience? To me, that sounds like a recipe for many misses and plenty of boos.
Shayne Graham: The 37-year-old spent last season with New Orleans, and turned in a solid season, making 19 of 22 field goal tries. Still, that percentage is slightly lower than Forbath’s career mark, and Graham is ten years older than Washington’s current kicker, meaning he’s not likely to be better on kickoffs, either.
Jay Feely: He’s one year shy of turning 40, and the Steelers opted to sign Garrett Hartley over him when looking for Shaun Suisham’s replacement (apologies to ‘Skins fans who started to shake after seeing that name again). He was three for four in 2014 with the Bears and owns just a decent 82.6% field goal rate for his career. Not the most attractive option.
Alex Henery: Henery was solid with the Eagles from 2011-2013, but Philadelphia still let him go to Detroit after his third NFL season. His stay with the Lions didn’t last, though, as the Nebraska product missed four of his first five kicks last year and was promptly cut. Who knows what that brutal stretch has done to his confidence?
As you can see, the choices the Redskins would have if they decided to let Forbath go aren’t exactly inspiring. Sure, if he shanks a couple in the preseason, the problem will be worth addressing, but for now, it’s best to let the veteran work things out because, as the old saying goes, “You don’t know what ya got ‘til it’s gone.” It’s best for us all take a deep breath and remember that Forbath is very skilled at the most crucial part of his job, and give him some more time to regain his stroke. Continuity at every position is vital, and kicker is no exception.