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So far, so good for Forbath

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So far, so good for Forbath

It’s an admittedly small sample size, but Kai Forbath has proven to be a shrewd pickup for the Redskins.

Although the 25-year-old California native had never kicked a field goal in an NFL regular season game, the Redskins signed him Oct. 9 to replace struggling veteran Billy Cundiff. And so far, all the first-year kicker has done is make every kick he’s attempted.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity,” Forbath said of his perfect start. “I didn’t know if it was going to come this year or next year or when. I’m just trying to go out there and take advantage of every chance I get and keep this streak going.” 

It’s quite a turnaround for a player who, just a few weeks ago, didn’t know when – or if – he would get his first legitimate crack at a fulltime job in the NFL.

Named college’s top kicker in 2009 as a junior at UCLA, Forbath was released by Tampa Bay after connecting on all five of his preseason attempts, including a 55-yarder. Despite his stellar performance, the Buccaneers kept standout veteran Connor Barth.

Although Tampa Bay’s decision didn’t stun Forbath, it didn’t make getting cut any less disappointing. In some ways, he said, it inspired him.

“I hadn’t picked a year where it was going to be like, ‘Okay, that’s it. I’m giving up,’” he said. “But it definitely was hard that first week after playing in the preseason and now I was back on the couch watching. That was the hardest time.” 

He added: "It hurt at first. Then it kind of motivated me."

So Forbath continued to practice and wait for his opportunity. Then he got the call from the Redskins, who decided to jettison Cundiff after he made only two of six attempts over a two game span.

Six days after arriving in Washington, Forbath’s first field goal attempt in a regular season game was a 50-yarder goal against the Vikings. The kick backed up his reputation for owning a strong leg. Against the Giants last Sunday, he showed his knack for accuracy, connecting on kicks of 20, 43 and 45 yards. 

Although Cundiff never seemed to get into a rhythm with long snapper Justin Snow and holder Sav Rocca, Forbath has developed chemistry with the veterans right away. 

“I just know these guys have been doing it a long time, a lot longer than I have,” Forbath said. “I know they’re good and they’ll get the ball down. I just have to trust that, just like I would with anybody else, and kick it like I normally do.”

Forbath said kickoffs are the area where he would like to improve. At Metlife Stadium last week, he put five of his six kicks into the end zone. But the Giants’ David Wilson returned four of them for a total of 106 yards, including a 32-yarder.

“We’ve had some success on field goals but we’ve got some work to do on kickoffs,” Forbath said. “You have to have a combination of hang time, distance and direction. That would be a perfect kick. We’re working on getting all that working.”

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Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins activate K Dustin Hopkins, waive K Nick Rose

After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.

Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.

Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either. 

RELATED: REDSKINS-CARDINALS PREVIEW

Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return. 

Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games. 

The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury. 

MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

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Week 15 Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: Show up, or get blown up

For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond. 

The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.

Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it. 

  1. Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come. 
  2. Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions. 
  3. Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus. 

Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-

We didn't spend last week playing checkers.

News & Notes:

  • Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
  • The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed. 
  • D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
  • Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week. 
  • Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.

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