Kai Forbath looks to avoid sophomore jinx


Sav Rocca, left, holds for place kicker John Potter, right, as fellow place kicker Kai Forbath, center, watches during Wednesday’s morning walk through. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND — There’s no need to mention names like Shaun Suisham or Graham Gano. Don’t even bother breaking out the statistics, either — like the fact that the Washington Redskins have trotted out a league-high 19 place kickers since 1994. That’s because Kai Forbath is already well aware of this simple fact: the Redskins have had a kicker problem of late.

“What are you trying to scare me here?” Forbath jokingly responded when the Redskins kicking carousel was mentioned after Wednesday’s morning walk-through.

For several of Washington’s recent kickers, the wheels have fallen off during their second season, which happens to be the same year that Forbath is entering. After replacing Cundiff in Week 6 of last season, the first-year player out of UCLA connected on his first 17 field goal attempts, an NFL record. His first and only miss came in the regular-season finale against Dallas. With his name already destined for Canton, Forbath knows the bar has been slightly raised for 2013.

“[Expectations] might be a little higher, but I have personal expectations for myself,” Forbath said. “So last season is gone; I did what I did and I’m zero for zero now.”

The last two kickers to be brought in midseason and yield instant success were Suisham and Gano. Suisham made eight straight field goals to close out the 2006 season. After a 29-for-35 showing in his first full campaign, Suisham missed 10 field goals in 2008, leading the Redskins to bring in Graham Gano during Week 13 of the 2009 season.

Gano closed out the year by making all four of his attempts. But in 2010, despite making three game-winners, Gano missed 11 field goals followed by 12 the next season. Cundiff replaced Gano at the start of last year before giving way to Forbath.

Kai Forbath (Richard Lipski/The Associated Press) Kai Forbath (Richard Lipski/The Associated Press)

Though Forbath doesn’t boast the strongest leg, consistency has been his strength. In limited action during camp, Forbath has continued this regularity, knocking in a handful of 30 to 40 yarders during Wednesday’s early session.

“I don’t have too many days where I go out there and miss a lot of balls,” Forbath said. “I try to be 100 percent inside 40 and be as consistent as I can outside that, and you’ve seen a lot of guys like that that have long careers.”

The preseason will bring the first glimpse into whether Forbath can carve out a niche for himself with the Redskins and in the NFL. He noted that it’s been helpful to come into training camp and get on the same page with the special teams unit rather than being thrown in as a starter midway through the year. Now, the hope for Forbath is to turn this extra period of mental preparation into a extended path of success unseen of late by Redskins kickers.

“I think the biggest thing is everyone is going to miss. It’s being able to move on after that next one, go out there and have the confidence to make that next one,” Forbath said. “Once you miss and miss, it’s a mental thing at that point. Physically, all these guys out here can make kicks; they do it all the time. So being able to bounce back and hit the next one, it’s big.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @john_keim @Insider | @PostSports

What’s ahead:

● Today’s second practice is 3:20 p.m. If you’re on your way to Richmond, check our our guide to training camp for tips on getting autographs, where to park and things to do after the session is over.

● A post on Darryl Tapp’s adjustment to life as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

More from The Post:

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D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins players on their signature dishes

LB Nick Barnett remains in Richmond, deal still possible

Cornerback Chase Minnifield plays feisty, is not worried about knee

D.C. Sports Bog: RGIII autographs life-sized RGIII painting

Santana Moss brushes off talk of age, competition

D.C. Sports Bog: James Brown on Cowboys fans in D.C.

Observations from Tuesday’s training camp practices | Previous days

D.C. Sports Bog: Redskins-themed food in Richmond

How much will the defensive losses hurt the Redskins?

Nobody’s quite sure what to expect from Chip Kelly and Week 1 opponent Eagles

D.C. Sports Bog: Fred Smoot recalls getting tied to the goal post

The Early Lead: Seahawks WR Percy Harvin needs hip surgery

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.

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Mark Maske · July 31, 2013