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The Redskins could have an advantage with a less 'accurate' kicker

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The Redskins could have an advantage with a less 'accurate' kicker

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.

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Fantasy Football -- Updated Week 7 rankings

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Fantasy Football -- Updated Week 7 rankings

The latest Week 7 fantasy football (standard) rankings are out and updated following various injury updates around the league. That includes Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston cleared for action and Redskins cornerback Josh Norman sitting down for another week with a rib injury. As a reminder, get your Lions and Texans out of lineups this week. 

Quarterbacks

1.  Tom Brady, NE
 
2.  Dak Prescott, DAL
 
3.  Drew Brees, NO
 
4.  Carson Wentz, PHI
 
5.  Matt Ryan, ATL
 
6.  Kirk Cousins, WAS
 
7.  Cam Newton, CAR
 
8.  Tyrod Taylor, BUF
 
9.  Alex Smith, KC
 
10.  Marcus Mariota, TEN
 
11.  Russell Wilson, SEA
 
12.  Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
 
13.  Carson Palmer, ARI
 
14.  Jared Goff, LAR
 
15.  Brett Hundley, GB
 
16.  Blake Bortles, JAC
 
17.  Derek Carr, OAK
 
18.  Jameis Winston, TB
 
19.  Philip Rivers, LAC
 
20.  Andy Dalton, CIN
 
21.  Case Keenum, MIN
 
22.  Josh McCown, NYJ
 
23.  Trevor Siemian, DEN
 
24.  C.J. Beathard, SF
 
25.  DeShone Kizer, CLE
 
26.  Jacoby Brissett, IND
 
27.  Jay Cutler, MIA
 
28.  Mitch Trubisky, CHI
 
29.  Eli Manning, NYG
 
30.  Joe Flacco, BAL

Running backs

1.  Kareem Hunt, KC
 
2.  Le'Veon Bell, PIT
 
3.  Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
 
4.  Leonard Fournette, JAC
 
5.  Todd Gurley, LAR
 
6.  LeSean McCoy, BUF
 
7.  Jay Ajayi, MIA
 
8.  Melvin Gordon, LAC
 
9.  Devonta Freeman, ATL
 
10.  Mark Ingram, NO
 
11.  Jordan Howard, CHI
 
12.  Carlos Hyde, SF
 
13.  LeGarrette Blount, PHI
 
14.  C.J. Anderson, DEN
 
15.  Jerick McKinnon, MIN
 
16.  Adrian Peterson, ARI
 
17.  Doug Martin, TB
 
18.  Alvin Kamara, NO
 
19.  Chris Thompson, WAS
 
20.  Christian McCaffrey, CAR
 
21.  Joe Mixon, CIN
 
22.  Tevin Coleman, ATL
 
23.  Javorius Allen, BAL
 
24.  Marshawn Lynch, OAK
 
25.  Derrick Henry, TEN
 
26.  DeMarco Murray, TEN
 
27.  Duke Johnson, CLE
 
28.  Frank Gore, IND
 
29.  Aaron Jones, GB
 
30.  Orleans Darkwa, NYG
 
31.  Ty Montgomery, GB
 
32.  Isaiah Crowell, CLE
 
33.  Jonathan Stewart, CAR
 
34.  Mike Gillislee, NE
 
35.  Dion Lewis, NE
 
36.  Alex Collins, BAL
 
37.  James White, NE
 
38.  Marlon Mack, IND
 
39.  Latavius Murray, MIN
 
40.  Chris Ivory, JAC
 
41.  Tarik Cohen, CHI
 
42.  Matt Forte, NYJ
 
43.  Thomas Rawls, SEA
 
44.  Wendell Smallwood, PHI
 
45.  Giovani Bernard, CIN
 
46.  Robert Kelley, WAS
 
47.  Andre Ellington, ARI
 
48.  Matt Breida, SF
 
49.  Bilal Powell, NYJ
 
50.  Wayne Gallman, NYG
 
51.  Jamaal Charles, DEN
 
52.  Eddie Lacy, SEA
 
53.  Samaje Perine, WAS
 
54.  Shane Vereen, NYG
 
55.  Elijah McGuire, NYJ
 
56.  C.J. Prosise, SEA
 
57.  Jalen Richard, OAK
 
58.  Mike Tolbert, BUF
 
59.  DeAndre Washington, OAK
 
60.  Charcandrick West, KC
 
61.  Alfred Morris, DAL

Wide receivers

1.  Dez Bryant, DAL
 
2.  Antonio Brown, PIT
 
3.  A.J. Green, CIN
 
4.  Julio Jones, ATL
 
5.  Michael Thomas, NO
 
6.  Mike Evans, TB
 
7.  Larry Fitzgerald, ARI
 
8.  Chris Hogan, NE
 
9.  Brandin Cooks, NE
 
10.  Demaryius Thomas, DEN
 
11.  Michael Crabtree, OAK
 
12.  Alshon Jeffery, PHI
 
13.  Tyreek Hill, KC
 
14.  Jordy Nelson, GB
 
15.  Jarvis Landry, MIA
 
16.  Adam Thielen, MIN
 
17.  Doug Baldwin, SEA
 
18.  Pierre Garcon, SF
 
19.  Davante Adams, GB
 
20.  Keenan Allen, LAC
 
21.  Rishard Matthews, TEN
 
22.  Kelvin Benjamin, CAR
 
23.  T.Y. Hilton, IND
 
24.  Devin Funchess, CAR
 
25.  John Brown, ARI
 
26.  DeSean Jackson, TB
 
27.  Eric Decker, TEN
 
28.  Terrelle Pryor, WAS
 
29.  Danny Amendola, NE
 
30.  Amari Cooper, OAK
 
31.  Nelson Agholor, PHI
 
32.  Kenny Stills, MIA
 
33.  Cooper Kupp, LAR
 
34.  Robert Woods, LAR
 
35.  Ted Ginn, NO
 
36.  Jermaine Kearse, NYJ
 
37.  Martavis Bryant, PIT
 
38.  Robby Anderson, NYJ
 
39.  Allen Hurns, JAC
 
40.  Bennie Fowler, DEN
 
41.  Sammy Watkins, LAR
 
42.  Randall Cobb, GB
 
43.  Taylor Gabriel, ATL
 
44.  Sterling Shepard, NYG
 
45.  Ricardo Louis, CLE
 
46.  Tyler Lockett, SEA
 
47.  Mohamed Sanu, ATL
 
48.  JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT
 
49.  Willie Snead, NO
 
50.  Jeremy Maclin, BAL
 
51.  Paul Richardson, SEA
 
52.  Tyrell Williams, LAC
 
53.  Kendall Wright, CHI
 
54.  Josh Doctson, WAS
 
55.  Jamison Crowder, WAS
 
56.  Torrey Smith, PHI
 
57.  Mike Wallace, BAL
 
58.  Jaron Brown, ARI
 
59.  Roger Lewis, NYG
 
60.  Zay Jones, BUF
 
61.  Donte Moncrief, IND
 
62.  Cole Beasley, DAL
 
63.  Kenny Britt, CLE
 
64.  Brice Butler, DAL
 
65.  De'Anthony Thomas, KC
 
66.  Travis Benjamin, LAC
 
67.  J.J. Nelson, ARI
 
68.  Marquise Goodwin, SF
 
69.  Terrance Williams, DAL
 
70.  Jeremy Kerley, NYJ

Tight ends

1.  Rob Gronkowski, NE
 
2.  Zach Ertz, PHI
 
3.  Travis Kelce, KC
 
4.  Delanie Walker, TEN
 
5.  Jimmy Graham, SEA
 
6.  Evan Engram, NYG
 
7.  Hunter Henry, LAC
 
8.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ
 
9.  Jordan Reed, WAS
 
10.  Austin Hooper, ATL
 
11.  Kyle Rudolph, MIN
 
12.  Cameron Brate, TB
 
13.  George Kittle, SF
 
14.  Jason Witten, DAL
 
15.  Zach Miller, CHI
 
16.  Jared Cook, OAK
 
17.  Ed Dickson, CAR
 
18.  Benjamin Watson, BAL
 
19.  Jack Doyle, IND
 
20.  Martellus Bennett, GB
 
21.  Nick O'Leary, BUF
 
22.  Tyler Kroft, CIN
 
23.  Vernon Davis, WAS
 
24.  Coby Fleener, NO
 
25.  Julius Thomas, MIA

Defenses

1.  Minnesota Vikings, MIN
 
2.  Seattle Seahawks, SEA
 
3.  Jacksonville Jaguars, JAC
 
4.  Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT
 
5.  Tennessee Titans, TEN
 
6.  Buffalo Bills, BUF
 
7.  Denver Broncos, DEN
 
8.  Carolina Panthers, CAR
 
9.  Miami Dolphins, MIA
 
10.  New Orleans Saints, NO
 
11.  Kansas City Chiefs, KC
 
12.  Los Angeles Rams, LAR
 
13.  Baltimore Ravens, BAL
 
14.  New York Giants, NYG
 
15.  Philadelphia Eagles, PHI
 
16.  Cincinnati Bengals, CIN
 
17.  New York Jets, NYJ
 
18.  Chicago Bears, CHI
 
19.  Arizona Cardinals, ARI
 
20.  Dallas Cowboys, DAL

Kickers

1.  Stephen Gostkowski, NE
 
2.  Dan Bailey, DAL
 
3.  Jake Elliott, PHI
 
4.  Harrison Butker, KC
 
5.  Matt Bryant, ATL
 
6.  Will Lutz, NO
 
7.  Ryan Succop, TEN
 
8.  Greg Zuerlein, LAR
 
9.  Graham Gano, CAR
 
10.  Justin Tucker, BAL
 
11.  Josh Lambo, JAC
 
12.  Blair Walsh, SEA
 
13.  Adam Vinatieri, IND
 
14.  Nick Novak, LAC
 
15.  Mason Crosby, GB
 
16.  Robbie Gould, SF
 
17.  Kai Forbath, MIN
 
18.  Aldrick Rosas, NYG
 
19.  Steven Hauschka, BUF
 
20.  Brandon McManus, DEN

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Josh Norman out against Eagles in Monday night matchup, plus full injury report

Josh Norman out against Eagles in Monday night matchup, plus full injury report

The Redskins will be without one of their top defenders when they take on the Eagles on Monday night.

Jay Gruden announced that CB Josh Norman is out for the second straight game with a broken rib. Norman was able to practice on a limited basis earlier this week but he did not practice today. Gruden said that the recovery from the injury just had not progressed to the point where the doctors would clear him to play.

Bashaud Breeland, the other starting cornerback, is listed as questionable with a knee injury he sustained last week against the 49ers. “He did a good job today,” said Gruden. “He’s looking better.”

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

Gruden said that a final determination on Breeland’s status will be made on Sunday.

With Norman out, Quinton Dunbar, who did a good job filling in against the 49ers, will start. If both of the starters are sidelined, rookie Fabian Moreau will get the start opposite Dunbar.

Also listed as questionable are RB Rob Kelley (ankle), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), S Stefan McClure (knee), and LB Mason Foster (shoulder).

RELATED: IN A MUDDLED NFC WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

Kelley is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered against the Chiefs on Oct. 2 but he has looked good while practicing on a limited basis this week. If he can’t go it seems likely that Samaje Perine will start in his place.

It should be noted that the term “questionable” on an injury report means that it is “uncertain if the player will play”. Many say that means that there is at least a 50 percent chance that the player will be active for the game. So there are a lot of scenarios that could unfold with that designation.

Reserve offensive linemen Ty Nsekhe (core muscle) and Tyler Catalina (concussion) also have been declared out for Monday night.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.