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Need to Know: Should the Redskins replace kicker Kai Forbath?

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Need to Know: Should the Redskins replace kicker Kai Forbath?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 1 nine days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

Question of the day

We’re going back to the NTK format we’ve been using since last month. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s question comes from the Real Redskins Facebook page.

The Redskins have a decision to make regarding Forbath, who has been the kicker since he took over five games into the 2012 season. He is a restricted free agent and the team has the right to present him with an RFA tender offer.

Their deadline is the start of free agency, March 10. They also could attempt to sign him to a contract prior to the start of free agency. Or they could let him walk as a free agent. So there are many options and all of them are in the hands of the Redskins, who do not seem to be particularly eager to lock up the player who would be, as Brian noted, the most accurate field goal kicker in team history is he had enough attempts to qualify. He is 59 of 67 for his Redskins career, 88.1 percent. The Redskins career leader is Shaun Suisham, who was 81 of 101, 80.2 percent. One hundred attempts are needed to qualify.

So why aren’t the Redskins rushing to lock up Forbath? It’s his leg strength. Forbath is fine from shorter distances. But the Redskins were one of only three NFL teams that did not have a field goal made from over 50 yards. Knowing that his kicker’s leg was limited, Jay Gruden only sent Forbath out there for one such attempt. And Forbath’s short-range accuracy really didn’t end up giving him much of an advantage over the league as a whole. In 2014 he was 24 of 27, 88.9 percent. The league as a whole kicked field goals with 84 percent accuracy. Had Forbath kicked with league-average accuracy he would have kicked 1.3 fewer field goals, a loss of four points for the team.

Compare that to potential points given up by the poor field position the Redskins had after they kicked off. Forbath’s net kickoff average was 40.7 yards (31st in the NFL) while the league average was 43.0. According to to this analysis, every yard of field position on a possession is worth about .055 points. Forbath kicked off 54 times so the Redskins in theory lost 6.8 points over the course of the season because Forbath’s kickoffs were not as deep as those of the average NFL kicker.

And compared to the NFL’s best kickoff man, Billy Cundiff of the Browns (yes, the kicker that Forbath replaced), Forbath’s kickoffs result in field position that on average yields 13.3 more opposition points during the season.

This doesn’t mean that they will let Forbath go. They have nine more days to decide if they want to tender him or to sign him to a new contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. They could hold on to him and bring in a serious competitor, someone with a stronger but perhaps less accurate leg and let them duke it out. Another option would be to roll with Forbath and have punter Tress Way, who has a stronger leg, handle the kickoffs. But that option is far from ideal since at this point in his career Way needs to worry more about refining his punting technique; practice time spent kicking off would detract from that.

The bottom line is that the numbers say that the Redskins might gain more than they lose if they get a kicker that can pound the ball through the end zone on a consistent basis and who can boot field goals from 50 yards or more occasionally even if he is a little less accurate on the short kicks than Forbath is. The Redskins may or may not be able to find one and it will be interesting to see what they do with Forbath in the meantime.

Timeline

—It’s been 63 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 196 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 9; Redskins offseason workouts start 50; 2015 NFL Draft 60

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

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USA TODAY Sports

An ankle injury has ended Terrelle Pryor's first, and probably last, season with the Redskins

As high hopes for the Redskins season seem to be slowly slipping away, the high hopes for wide receiver Terrell Pryor can now officially end.

Jay Gruden announced Monday that Pryor will undergo ankle surgery and be placed on the injured reserve. That means Pryor will not be eligible to play for at least eight games, and considering it’s already late November, that closes the book on Pryor’s 2017 season.

When Pryor signed with Washington this offseason, fans grew quite excited. The 6-foot-5, 240 lbs. wideout went for more than 1,000 receiving yards last year on a terrible Browns team, and most expected that production to increase playing with Kirk Cousins.

It never happened.

MORE: KIRK COUSINS ISN'T THRILLED WITH NFL'S APOLOGY FOR MISSED CALL

In nine games for Washington, Pryor grabbed only 20 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown. What made matters worse for the former quarterback-turned-receiver, Pryor displayed subpar hands, and drops plagued him throughout the season. He was targeted 37 times, and barely caught more than 50 percent of those passes.

As things deteriorated for Pryor, he maintained a respectful professionalism. Eventually his ineffective play led him to the bench and reduced snaps, and in his final game of the season against the Vikings, Pryor did not even land a target.

Signed to a one-year deal, Pryor rolled the dice on a season in Washington to boost his free agent profile in 2018. It didn’t work, and now after surgery, it seems unlikely either the player or the organization would pursue a second contract.

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

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After awful collapse, NFL apology on bad call little more than hollow gesture for Kirk Cousins, Redskins

NEW ORLEANS — Collectively, the Redskins squandered a great road win on Sunday.

The team coughed up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and allowed Drew Brees and the Saints to pull off an incredible, unbelievable comeback win. 

The Redskins deserve the blame. The players and coaches. But they're not alone. 

The referees made a terrible intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter that cost the Redskins precious time and real estate.

Kirk Cousins very obviously threw the ball away to stop the clock, and the quarterback was very obviously not under duress from the Saints pass rush.

In no fashion was the throw grounds for a flag.

None. 

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LOSS TO SAINTS

Yet, the refs penalized Cousins and the Redskins. As much as replay bogs down the sport, Jay Gruden had no recourse, the flag could not be challenged, and the 'Skins were thrust out of field goal position.

Late Sunday night, a report showed that NFL officials contacted Redskins team president Bruce Allen to say the call was wrong. Whoop de do. That means nothing, and Cousins knows it. 

"Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.," Cousins said Monday speaking on 106.7 the Fan

And he's right.

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"This is our careers, this is our livelihood," Cousins said. "It is frustrating when a letter is really all you get when it has such a major impact on the direction of our lives."

Cousins' future, Gruden's future, countless other players and coaches, they don't get to hang a sign that says, "The NFL blew a call."

For the third straight offseason, Cousins will be without a contract, and a long-term deal remains anything but certain. This loss, and that call, could impact those contract talks. 

This loss, and that call, could impact coaching changes or draft strategy too. By dropping to 4-6, the Redskins seem unlikely to push for a playoff spot now. Might the organization think differently of their franchise QB if the team fails to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons? Sure, that could definitely happen. Should it happen? Probably not. Could it happen? It could. 

Don't misunderstand: The Redskins blew a 15-point lead in three minutes. That's abysmal. That's absurd. One penalty flag didn't change that. 

But it was a huge penalty, and it was a terrible call. 

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Cousins played nearly flawless in New Orleans, connecting for three touchdowns and more than 300 yards. His most important pass, however, was one that was harmlessly into the ground, with no intended receiver. 

"I'm thinking, well [Jamison] Crowder and [Josh] Doctson are over there. If I literally throw it over their heads, they're in the area, they're eligible receivers. Not to mention, if I'm not under pressure, it's not intentional grounding," Cousins said. 

It's not intentional grounding. Cousins knows it. The NFL knows it. But it doesn't matter now. 

"The difference between a team that’s patting everybody on the back at the end of the season and a team that everybody gets fired, the difference can be a few plays, it can be a call by a referee," Cousins said. "It's a very fragile thing."

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