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Redskins Q&A: Will Forbath be challenged in training camp?


Redskins Q&A: Will Forbath be challenged in training camp?

With a new general manager in charge, new faces throughout the lineup as well as new assistant coaches bringing new ideas to the table, the Redskins are a team in transition. Between now and the start of training camp, reporters Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will examine the top questions facing Jay Gruden and Co. as they prepare for the season.

Will kicker Kai Forbath be challenged in training camp?

After almost three seasons in Washington, the Redskins know what they’ve got in Forbath. He’s a clutch, accurate field goal kicker but he struggles on kickoffs. The 27-year-old has also missed a handful of games with injuries. There is, however, a reason the UCLA product has survived as long as he has: He puts the ball between the uprights when the game is on the line. Will the Redskins stick with him or search for a more well rounded kicker?

El-Bashir: If Jay Gruden was going to replace Forbath, I suspect he would have done it last year after drafting Zach Hocker in the seventh round. Forbath, of course, outperformed Hocker in the preseason and held onto his job. (Hocker is currently competing for a job in New Orleans, in case you were wondering.)

I don’t see things unfolding any differently between now and the start of the season.

Last year, Forbath made 24 of his 27 field goal attempts (88.9 percent), including seven of his eight tries from 40-49 yards. On kickoffs, however, he only recorded 18 touchbacks, which ranked 26th.

This is where it gets a little complicated. Forbath struggles to force touchbacks, but he’s money when the game is on the line. Case in point: He earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors last October after booting four field goals, including the overtime winner, to beat the Cowboys on Monday Night Football in Dallas.

In May, the Redskins signed Alabama-Birmingham kicker Ty Long to push Forbath. And I assume he’ll get the opportunity to show what he can do in the preseason. In college, Long connected on 59 of 77 field goal attempts (76.6 percent) and last season recorded 39 touchbacks on 76 kickoffs. So, yeah, he’s got a big leg. But his inexperience, in my opinion, makes him a long shot to win the job.

Tandler: Yes, Forbath is accurate from inside the 50, but so are a lot of kickers. What Forbath is lacking is a big leg. He did have any field goals from 50 or more yards out last year and he has just two in his career. 

I don’t think that Forbath has much to worry about from Long. As Tarik noted, if they were going to go younger and cheaper at kicker they probably would have stuck with Hocker last year. 

But that doesn’t mean that Forbath is safe. A couple of misses in the preseason could have Scot McCloughan on the phone, brining in out of work veterans for tryouts. 

Eventually, the Redskins might get punter Tress Way to handle the kickoff duties and keep Forbath as a field goal specialist. But they still have work to do to refine Way’s punting technique so the kickoffs may need to wait. 

So even if the kickoffs and long-range field goals are lacking, Forbath probably is safe as long as he keeps booting the short field goals. But if that ability goes south, as it sometimes does without explanation, his seat will get very hot very quickly.

Previously on Redskins offseason Q&A:

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How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

How Kirk Cousins' next two games will directly impact the Redskins' playoff chances

A week after it felt borderline irresponsible to talk about the Redskins' 2018 playoff chances, it now feels completely necessary. 

Sure, you can make a pretty easy argument that this team doesn't look like a postseason team. But the fact of the matter is they're in a position to possibly become one in a handful of days.

And who's going to have a lot of say in whether the 'Skins do advance beyond Week 17? Kirk Cousins, because DUH.

Thanks to Dallas' Week 15 loss, Washington isn't out of the division hunt yet. However, their far more likely path to the playoffs is via the wild card, a spot that Cousins and the Vikings currently occupy.

To take that spot, the 'Skins really need to win out (they could still take the sixth seed by finishing 8-8, but that would take a lot more help). That means, first and foremost, Josh Johnson has to lead the Burgundy and Gold to victories over the Titans and the Eagles, which would have them finish the year at 9-7.

If that happens, the Redskins will then only require one Minnesota loss in the next two weeks to steal the second wild card. The Vikings square off with the Lions and Bears to wrap up their schedule, with the former happening in Detroit and the latter taking place in Minneapolis. 

The Eagles are also a factor in all of this, but Jay Gruden's squad could make them less of one by beating them in the 2018 finale.

Earlier this season, when everything was going right for the Redskins, it looked like a January showdown between Cousins' former franchise and his current one could happen. Now, though, the two squads are vying for the same position. 

So, it's really simple, 'Skins supporters — root for your guys to win two more and root against Cousins as well. This time around, No. 8 coming up short down the stretch would really benefit Washington.


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Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

Loudoun County Sheriff's Office

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson arrested on assault charges

Redskins safety Montae Nicholson was arrested on assault charges early Tuesday morning in Loudoun County, Va.

The 23-year-old Nicholson was charged with assault and battery and public intoxication following an incident on the morning of Dec. 18 at the One Loudon development.

A female suspect, 24-year-old Sydney A. Maggiore of Vienna, Va. was reportedly with Nicholson at the scene. 

According to police, via NBC 4,  the incident began after Nicholson and a women "pulled up in a vehicle and honked the horn" at a man and women.

"We are aware of the arrest of Montae Nicholson," Redskins spokesman Tony Wylie said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "We are gathering more information and will not comment until we have further details.”

Nicholson started the first seven games of the 2018 season and has appeared in all 14, amassing 21 solo tackles. The Redskins selected Nicholson out of Michigan State in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.