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Zach Hocker Impresses In Preseason Debut


Zach Hocker was put in the spotlight on Thursday evening at FedExField, and wasn't the least bit fazed at being the solo attraction on multiple occasions on the big stage.

Drafted in the seventh round by the Washington Redskins in May, the rookie kicker nailed both of his field goal attempts, booted an extra point and two of his three kickoff attempts were unable to be returned.

Battling incumbent starter Kai Forbath for primary kicking duties, Hocker admitted that he was actually more at ease than he originally thought he'd be and dissected some of his strengths from the night and pointed to some areas he wants to improve on in the coming weeks.

"I was actually more relaxed than I had anticipated," he explained after the game. "Overall, I can improve my touchbacks, but other than that, the PAT (point after attempt) field goals were converted pretty well."

Speaking of the extra point, Hocker said that for both Forbath and he, the extra point was the biggest adjustment coming out of Richmond.

Voted on in March, the NFL announced that during the first two weeks of the preseason, all extra point attempts will be spotted at the 15-yard line for a 33-yard attempt.

"Yeah, Kai and I were talking about it taking the field," Hocker said. "My very first one (attempt) I took the field not even noticing that we were going to be from the 15-yard (line) and seeing the linemen backup… It's a lot longer out here than what you think.

"(I was) very happy that we got to convert them, but you know, we'll see what happens."

Hocker set the tone for the game by booting his opening kick into the back of the end zone for a touchback. After alternating with Forbath on kickoffs and field goals, Hocker's next kick was the first 33-yard extra point attempt and conversion in franchise history.

Halfway through the second quarter, he connected on a 27-yard attempt, and followed it up with a 39-yarder in the third quarter.

With the position battle heating up, Jay Gruden believes the final decision will not be fully made up until after the preseason game at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28.

"Zach had a great couple good kickoffs and a good tackle and made a field goal," Gruden said. "Kai, you know, he had a kickoff out of bounds…so that's a decision that's going to come after the fourth preseason game.

"I don't know where it's going to go, there's really nobody leading right now, it's going to be down to the wire I'm sure."




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