TAMPA, Fla. — Rookie place kicker Zach Hocker entered Thursday night’s preseason finale looking to remain perfect on field goal attempts as his competition with veteran Kai Forbath continued for one final installment. But the seventh-round pick missed a 39-yard attempt against the Buccaneers. Meanwhile Forbath made his lone attempt — a 45-yarder — to finish his preseason on a strong note.
“You know, preseason, offseason, OTAs went well,” Hocker said after the game. “I planned on ending on a good night. That one just got away from me. I can’t really say much other than that. Kickoffs, throughout the night, I felt pretty good about, but just that one field goal — I might have overlooked it being a short kick, and I just pushed it right.”
Hocker previously had attempted two field goals in games, making both. Forbath, meanwhile, missed a 46-yard attempt in the preseason opener, but then made his next three attempts leading up to Thursday night.
“Like I’ve said, every field goal’s the same for me,” Forbath said. “I go out there and just do the same thing. I’ve been saying it the whole time — we’re just trying to help the team, so I just went out there and hit it like always.”
On Tuesday, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that Washington really couldn’t go wrong with either kicker. But he did seem disappointed over Hocker’s miss.
“Yeah, he missed a great opportunity,” the coach said. “But he kicked off well, made some PATs. We’ll have to see. But it’s going to be tough.”
Hocker said that the pressure of the do-or-die situation wasn’t to blame for his miss.
“I’ve been in pressure situations before, and it had nothing to do with being in the competition or making the team,” he said. “It’s just — I approach every practice, every kick like it’s my last one, and who knows what’s gonna happen? Hopefully, I’ll make the team. If not, I’ll respect their decision, and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity.”
Forbath has proven clutch his first two NFL seasons, missing only five of 40 attempts. But the Redskins still opted to bring in a competitor.
He said the next 48 hours will be rather stressful as he waits by his phone for a call that will inform him either that the job remains his, or that his services are no longer needed.
“I mean, it happens with kickers every year,” he said. “It’s just something you’ve got to go through, and you know, just got to roll with it.”
Follow Jones on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news on cuts leading up to Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline to trim the roster from 75 to 53 players.
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