Saints aiming to solidify kicking game going into Indy
METAIRIE, La. (AP) Kai Forbath hopes his short-term approach helps him become a long-term kicking solution for the New Orleans Saints.
”It comes down to one kick sometimes, and you’re out of a job,” Forbath said after signing with the Saints this week.
”So you just kind of have to stay focused every single week like your job’s on the line.”
Forbath, who was cut by the Washington Redskins earlier this season, is the 10th Saints kicker in the past 10 seasons. He has replaced first-year kicker Zach Hocker, who was 9 of 13 on field-goal attempts through the six games.
Forbath joins the Saints (2-4) at a time when they desperately need victories, which means they will likely need their kicking game to be at its best.
On that front, the club got some good news as it prepared for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis; punter Thomas Morstead, who also handles kickoffs, has returned to practice this week after missing the past two games with a right quadriceps injury.
It looks likely that Morstead will resume his usual duties, given the Saints’ decision to cut punter Brandon Fields, who filled in during a loss at Philadelphia and a victory in New Orleans over Atlanta last Thursday.
”Having Brandon here was great. He’s a great pro, but I’d be lying if I said I’m happy having another punter in the building,” Morstead said.
”I’ll never forget sitting in that training room seeing four punters walk through there to get physicals (for their tryouts) and just kind of that feeling – not that I need any extra motivation to do my job, but it wasn’t a good feeling.”
Fields posted a 35.1-yard average net on 10 punts. Morstead’s net average was 39.4 yards before his injury on a kickoff during a victory over Dallas on Oct. 4. Morstead also has booted 15 of 19 kickoffs this season through the end zone for touchbacks.
Hocker handled kickoffs while Morstead was out.
Forbath said he is eager to have a chance to be with a team that allows him to focus purely on place-kicking.
”It’s pretty kicker-friendly, I’d say,” Forbath said. ”Thomas kicks off. You play most of your games indoors, so I’m pretty happy with the situation that I’m in right now.”
As for the fact that Saints coach Sean Payton has gone through so many kickers, Forbath said he’s been made aware of it, but ”can’t really figure it out.”
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who has kicked for only New England and Indianapolis during a 20-year career, said there’s no sense fretting about a coach’s past record as it pertains to kicker turnover.
”I don’t think you can worry about that stuff. You’ve got to focus in on what you can do, what you can control,” Vinatieri said. ”I don’t think it changes your mindset or anything. You just try and do the best you can to help your team win.
”If you can stay consistent, you can keep your job for a while in this league,” he added. ”There are other things that come into play like money and contracts. But usually with kickers, that’s not as big a deal.”
Forbath spent the past three seasons with the Redskins, his only previous club. Last season, he was 24 of 27 on field goals. This season, the Redskins cut him after his first miss of the season, which occurred on his second attempt.
After his release, he drew interest from other clubs, participating in five different workouts, including in New Orleans.
”Statistically he has been outstanding in regards to his percentages, even going back to his days at UCLA,” Payton said, noting that many of the NFL’s top kickers have been with multiple teams.
That sounded familiar to Forbath.
”I’ve gotten to know a bunch of kickers throughout the league so far since I’ve been playing and just talking to some of them, it’s crazy the journey they’ve gone on from team to team,” he said. ”It’s definitely just something you’ve got to stick with, and week to week, you never know where you’re going to be.”
Notes: Left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) and cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip/illness) returned to team drills on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out a day earlier. … Morstead was listed as limited, as were receiver Marques Colston (shoulder), guard Tim Lelito (shoulder), linebacker Ramon Humber (thigh) and cornerback Damian Swann (concussion). … Offensive tackle Andrus Peat has not practiced since injuring his knee against Atlanta.
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
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