- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 29, 2016

ASHBURN | One man’s red-zone failure is another man’s gold.

Just ask Washington Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins, who was named the NFC special teams player of the month Thursday. Way down there, at No. 31 on the red-zone efficiency list, are the Redskins. They have scored a touchdown 21.43 percent of the time in the red zone. Only the Houston Texas have been worse.

Those consistent failures for the Redskins have put Hopkins in position to kick and kick some more. No one has attempted or made more field goals than Hopkins this season. He’s one of nine kickers to make all of their attempts thus far. He’s 11-for-11, with a long of 49 yards.

Since being signed by the Redskins in 2015, Hopkins has been one of the most efficient kickers in the league. Last season, he was ninth in the league after converting 89.3 percent of his kicks. Add the 11 made field goals of this season, and Hopkins has booted 92.3 percent of his attempts between the uprights.

Having to sign a kicker in September of a season is never a good sign. That was the Redskins‘ situation last year when they released Kai Forbath and brought in Hopkins. Hopkins had been released twice before, once in 2014 by the Buffalo Bills and again in 2015 by the New Orleans Saints. Nine days after being released by the Saints last season, Hopkins signed with the Redskins. Forbath ended up in New Orleans where he and Zach Hocker each made just 69.2 percent of their kicks last season. Neither are with the Saints this season. Instead, they have Will Lutz, who has made just 62.5 percent of his kicks to start the season.

Once again, a negative in one instance turned into a positive in another.

Norman misses practice because of illness

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman did not practice Thursday because of illness, Gruden said. However, Norman is expected to be ready to play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (knee, ankle) was back at practice as a limited participant. He did not practice Wednesday.

Breeland (ankle) did not practice. Cornerback Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) also did not practice. Neither did wide receiver Josh Doctson (Achilles tendon).

Defensive lineman Chris Baker (elbow, toe) was a full participant after being limited in Wednesday’s practice.

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