Hog Heaven has been a critic of Billy Cundiff since his arrival. Actually, the reservation was about the process that got him here. It seemed too rushed to me. Too-rushed thought processes are flawed thought processes.
After rethinking the process, the Redskins signed former UCLA kicker and Lou Groza Award winner Kai Forbath. Washington will release Billy Cundiff. The adage, never enough time to do it right, but always time to do it over, is proven right ... again.
I can't wait to see why Forbath is better than Cundiff, or Graham Gano. Fans are in an anyone-but-Cundiff mood, however, so we are high on Kai.
Cundiff made seven of 12 field goal attempts in his five-game career with Washington. Gano was nine of 12 at the same point last season. The Redskins pounced on Cundiff for his kickoff distance when Baltimore released him. The more touchbacks, the fewer kick returns.
It sounds great, but it was a thin difference from the beginning. Cundiff kicked the ball 64.9 yards on average. Eighteen of his 29 kick-offs were touchbacks. Gano averaged 63.4 yards on his kickoffs, 32 of his 73 kicks were touchbacks.
A higher percentage of Cundiff's kickoffs were touchbacks, but receiving teams returned a slightly higher percentage of Cundiff's kicks than they did of Gano's. Cundiff's deeper kicks did not offset grief from his missed field goals. Nor could it save his job.
I get the human foible that caused the Redskins to call everyone but Gano to try out as Cundiff's replacement. That would have been an admission of error. But, tell me how an inexperienced player waived injured by Dallas and unable to make the cut with Tampa Bay is better than a placekicking veteran with 36 game experience.
Gano showed year-to-year improvement on his overall field goals made since being named starter. He replaced Shaun Suisham who was a better kicker in his up and down career with Washington.
That's the thought that struck me as I watched Suisham kick the winning field goal for the Steelers over the Eagles. Are we getting anywhere by making another change at kicker?
Hog Heaven reluctantly joins the growing chorus of fans who think a coaching change may be in order. Danny Smith has done a wonderful job in his time with Washington. Kick and punt returns aren't the only important part of special teams. The Redskins have been among the league's best at coverage.
But, if another change were needed on special teams, if Forbath does not work out, I wouldn't trust Smith to make the next call.
Image thumbnail via Google.
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