Quick Links

Redskins change at kicker turns into a good move


Redskins change at kicker turns into a good move

Not every personnel decision the Redskins made this offseason has worked out. But one have they made a game into the season has proven to be a stroke of genius.

After their Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, Scot McCloughan and Jay Gruden decided to move on from Kai Forbath, the team’s kicker since early in the 2012 season. Despite his impressive field goal accuracy of 87 percent, his below-average leg strength was an issue they decided they could no longer live with. In 2014 he was 31st in the league in both the percentage of kickoffs that resulted in touchbacks (33 percent) and in net kickoff average (40.7 yards).

In addition, the lack of leg strength made it hard for his coaches to trust him on long field goals. In his first two years in the league he tried four field goals of 50 yards or longer and made two. In the last two seasons, Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden decided to either punt or go for the first down rather then trot Forbath out there for a 50-plus yard field goal.

So after Week 1 it was exit Forbath, enter Dustin Hopkins, who had never played in the NFL. He has boomed 72 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks and most of them have at least reached the end zone.

In five games as the Redskins kicker he already has two field goals of over 50 yards, as many as Forbath had in 41 games in Washington. Both were impressive. A 52-yarder in the Georgia Dome tied the game with Falcons with two seconds left in regulation.

Although the Redskins lost in overtime, Gruden was very pleased that Hopkins made his first real clutch kick of his short career.

“You’re talking about the total package of being a kicker — the long field goals and the kickoffs — and I think he [Hopkins] has proven that he’s pretty good,” Gruden said the day after the Atlanta game. “He made a huge kick yesterday. He missed one, a long one, but he made one [in] clutch, crunch time, which we were all curious – will he make that kick in a big-time situation, big-time game? He knocked it through there, so that’s exciting — exciting for him and exciting for us moving forward knowing that he’s got that experience in him now and he can make it.”

Last week he navigated the tricky winds in MetLife Stadium to boot a 54-yarder with a few yards to spare.

Gruden also has been impressed with something we have only seen once in a game.

“He’s been outstanding,” Gruden said of Hopkins. “Kicking the ball off, making field goals, his onside kicks – they’re like magic balls, I don’t know he keeps them in play. I don’t know how we haven’t recovered one yet. He’s an amazing onside kicker, but he’s done excellent.”

He has attempted one onside kick, in the fourth quarter against the Jets. The ball made it past the front line and it looked like a couple of Redskins had a shot at it before the Jets recovered. But apparently Gruden has been wowed with the onside kicks in practice. It is likely that Hopkins’ talent will be called upon again as the season goes on. 

Quick Links

Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

USA Today Sports Images

Ryan Grant reportedly signing with Colts after failed physical with Ravens

It looks like Ryant Grant has found his new home, again.

After a failed physical with the Ravens, James Jones of NFL Network reports Grant plans to sign with the Colts.


Grant originally agreed to a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens, before the team pulled the offer citing an ankle injury that dated to the Redskins' final regular-season game, according to reports.

Baltimore eventually signed Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal, while Grant had visits with the Colts and Raiders.

His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, says Grant has been working out, running routes, and his ankle had been cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson in a second opinion.

In 2017 with the Redskins, he appeared in all 16 games, with 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.


Quick Links

Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source


Redskins bring in another defensive lineman for free agency visit, per source

The Redskins hosted Sylvester Williams for a free agency visit on Tuesday morning, per a source with knowledge of the situation. 

Williams played in 2017 with the Titans, logging 20 tackles in 11 starts. Tennessee released Williams this offseason, just one year into a three-year, $16 million deal. 

Drafted in the first round by the Broncos in 2013, the 6-foot-3, 313 lbs. Williams' stat line has never really popped. That isn't uncommon for a nose tackle though, as the job is less about tackles than it is holding leverage against the interior of an offensive line. 


Should the Redskins sign 29-year-old Williams, it would represent the first true nose tackle free agency addition since Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton joined the team in 2015 from Denver. In an ironic twist, Williams took over at nose in Denver when Knighton left for Washington, and posted his best season as a Bronco. 

Washington restructured its deal with Terrell McClain, reported first by ESPN, which could allow more flexibility to add another defensive lineman. That could come in the draft, but the club has been very active talking with free agents to play on the defensive front. 

On Monday, Johnathan Hankins and Pernell McPhee visited with Redskins officials in Ashburn. Hankins would carry the heaviest price tag, but his past performance would also indicate the most promise. 

McPhee is an edge rusher with enough bulk to play against the run as well. Williams compares more with Hankins, and could be seen as the secondary option.

Among 79 nose tackles Pro Football Focus graded, Williams ranked 36th. For comparison, Bengals star Geno Atkins ranked No. 1, Dontari Poe ranked 26th, former Redskin Chris Baker ranked 65th and current Redskin Ziggy Hood ranked 79th. 

It's also worth noting that since the Titans released Williams, should the Redskins sign the nose tackle, his contract would not count towards the NFL compensatory pick formula. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!