METAIRIE, La. (AP) – The New Orleans Saints have decided to make a change at kicker, releasing Zach Hocker on Monday and replacing him with former Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath.
Hocker missed two field goal attempts during Thursday night’s Saints victory over Atlanta, dropping him to 9 of 13 on the season. Two weeks earlier, Hocker had missed a potential winning field goal against Dallas, hitting the left upright. However, the Saints won that game in overtime.
Forbath, whose signing was posted on the NFL transactions wire Monday afternoon, had kicked for the Washington Redskins from 2012 until his release last month. He has made 60 of 69 field goal attempts in his career. He hit 24 of 27 last season.
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He becomes the 10th Saints kicker since coach Sean Payton was hired in 2006.
The previous nine kickers in New Orleans were: John Carney, Billy Cundiff, Olindo Mare, Martin Gramatica, Taylor Mehlhaff, Garrett Hartley, John Kasay, Shayne Graham and Hocker.
Hartley was one of the stars of the Saints’ 2009 championship season, hitting the winning kick in the NFC title game and then making three kicks from beyond 40 yards in the Super Bowl. While injured, Hartley was replaced by Kasay in 2011. Hartley returned in 2012, but was replaced by Graham in 2013 after having one kick blocked and missing another wide left in a loss at St. Louis.
Graham remained with New Orleans through 2014, but Payton decided in the offseason to release Graham and open the job to a competition between a pair of young pros with no regular season NFL experience: Hocker, who kicked at Arkansas, and Dustin Hopkins out of Florida State.
Hocker won the job in the preseason. Hopkins, meanwhile, has replaced Forbath in Washington, hitting 10 of 11 attempts.
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