Washington Redskins Give Billy Cundiff the Boot

By Greg Bradshaw

The Washington Redskins relieved kicker Billy Cundiff of his placekicking duties by releasing him on Tuesday. During the 2011 NFL season, he missed 5 out of 6 field goal tries of over 50 yards as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Few kickers can consistently make field goals of 50 yards or more. So Cundiff can be excused for his abysmal record of kicking field goals over 50 yards.

However, he is paid to make field goals from manageable distances.  As a member of the Ravens, he missed a 32 yard field goal in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots after the 2011 NFL season. That miss cost Baltimore a chance to tie the game, and the three point Patriots’ victory gave New England the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 46.

Considering Cundiff missed that important kick, Washington’s signing of Cundiff before the start of the 2012 NFL season seemed even more curious. Graham Gano was the incumbent Redskins’ placekicker, but because of inconsistency he was released in favor of Cundiff before the start of the regular season . Washington head coach Mike Shanahan gave Cundiff a chance to redeem himself of the Patriots’ fiasco.

Redemption would never come for Cundiff. He missed four out of six field goals in the last two weeks, including two misses from less than 35 yards. Those types of miscues are inexcusable, because they put pressure on the Washington offense to score touchdowns every possession. If the Redskins’ had a fourth down and four yards to go from their opponent’s 15 yard line, they should have the confidence to send the placekicker out and kick a field goal. The offense shouldn’t have to go for it on fourth down to keep the drive alive in that situation.

Washington has signed placekicker Kai Forbath to handle the placekicking duties. Despite a stellar placekicking collegiate career at UCLA, Forbath has never played in an NFL regular season game. The Week Six game against the Minnesota Vikings will be Forbath’s opportunity to bring clarity to the Redskins’ placekicking game. Time will tell if Forbath is up to the challenge.

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