Gruden: Redskins can’t go wrong with either kicker

Zach Hocker had a good game against the Patriots, but didn't earn the kicking job. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Zach Hocker is still fighting for the kicking job with Kai Forbath. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The Washington Redskins know their starters at every position on offense and defense, and at most special teams positions as well.

One of the most important on special teams, place kicker, remains up for grabs, however, and coach Jay Gruden says that it all comes down to Thursday night’s final preseason game. Gruden said selecting the winner of this competition will prove difficult, and that there may not be a wrong choice.

Third-year veteran Kai Forbath and rookie Zach Hocker have duked it out in offseason practices, training camp, preseason practices and in the first three exhibition games. In practices the two have gone back and forth. Some days both do well. Other days Forbath will struggle and Hocker excel. And in other sessions, Hocker will struggle while Forbath shines.

Forbath has gone 3 for 4 with his lone miss coming 46 yards out. Forbath also has made all three of his point-after attempts, while averaging 64.8 yards per kickoff, with one touchback in six attempts. (That 64.8-yard average represents improvement. Forbath averaged 61.8 yards a kick in his first two seasons, and recorded only 29 touchbacks in 119 attempts).

Hocker, Washington’s seventh-round pick out of Arkansas, has attempted two field goals, making both, and is 4-for-4 on point-after attempts. He has averaged 66.9 yards per kickoff on nine attempts while recording two touchbacks.

“That’s another tight battle,” Gruden said.  “It’s a close battle. Both of them have done a very good job in my opinion. I don’t think we can go wrong either way with the place kicker. Unfortunately, we’ll probably have to choose one, and that’ll come down to Thursday night. I like both of them. I feel good about kicking with both of them in a game. So, that’ll be a tough call.”

 

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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