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Kai Forbath replacing Zach Hocker as Saints kicker

METAIRIE, La. -- Another year, another kicker change for the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints have signed veteran Kai Forbath to replace the struggling Zach Hocker, who has been released. It makes Forbath the 10th kicker for the Saints since coach Sean Payton arrived in 2006.

The writing was on the wall for Hocker after he missed two field goals in Thursday night's 31-21 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

Hocker was already on the hot seat after missing a 30-yarder that would have sealed a victory over the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the month. That prompted New Orleans to bring in Forbath, among others, for a tryout.

"We're going to play in a game that is going to be a bit closer than that," Payton said of the missed kicks after the victory over Atlanta. "That one could've easily been real close. We just have to be better."

Hocker was 9-of-13 on field goal attempts for the year. He also had an extra point attempt blocked, and Saints quarterback Luke McCown dropped the snap on another extra-point attempt.

Forbath was released last month by the Washington Redskins after he missed a 46-yard field goal in Week 1 and went 1-for-2 in the game. He had been the Redskins' kicker since 2012, making 60 of 69 field goal attempts in his career (87 percent). He was 24-of-27 last year.

But Forbath reportedly was inconsistent in training camp, and Redskins coach Jay Gruden said the team wanted someone with a stronger leg on kickoffs.

Normally that wouldn't be an issue for the Saints, as punter Thomas Morstead handles kickoffs. However, Morstead has missed the past two games with a quadriceps injury.

This is the second time Hocker has lost a job to Forbath. The two competed in Washington last summer when Hocker was a seventh-round draft pick out of Arkansas.

In the small world of hard-luck NFL kickers, Forbath was replaced in Washington by Dustin Hopkins -- who was cut by the Saints after losing out to Hocker this summer.

In hindsight, it looks like the Saints made the wrong choice with Hocker, since Hopkins has made 10 of 11 field goal attempts this year. But Hocker was slightly more consistent in preseason games.

The Saints have had horrible success trying to find a consistent kicker during the Payton era; Payton has expressed his regret for cutting veteran John Carney after the 2006 season. But the kickers haven't made things easy on the Saints' decision-makers.

Since 2006, the Saints have gone through Carney (three times), Billy Cundiff, Olindo Mare, Martin Gramatica, Taylor Mehlhaff, Garrett Hartley (also on-again, off-again), John Kasay, Shayne Graham and Hocker.