- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Graham Gano on firmer footing after wobbly 2010 season
Graham Gano concluded his first full NFL season on high alert. The Washington Redskins‘ kicker was on shaky ground after 2010 because he missed 11 field goals, tied for most in the NFL. Coaches believed in his potential, but he had to validate it with production in 2011 — or else.
“I never had a season like I had last year in my career playing football,” Gano said. “I knew that it was uncharacteristic of me. It made me mad and upset and made me want to get better and more consistent to show people what I could do.”
So far, so good. Gano has made 12 of 13 field-goal attempts that have traveled full distance (three of his four misses were blocked).
“That’s one of the reasons why we stayed with him is that the first year is very tough,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “You get into the NFL and, all of a sudden, you start hooking them and you start pushing them. It’s kind of like your golf swing under pressure — you can play with your friends all of the time, but when you get in front of a lot of people, it changes; or if you’re playing for a lot of money. He’s handled himself great this year, and I like what I see.”
The apex of Gano’s emergence occurred in last Sunday’s loss to San Francisco. As time expired in the first half, Shanahan gave him a chance on a 59-yarder instead of having the offense try a Hail Mary. Gano drilled it with at least a yard to spare.
It was the longest successful try in Redskins history. He celebrated by running around the field, a release of emotion that was well-deserved.
“It’s exciting, especially being in the record books for a franchise with such tradition like this,” he said. “That’s an opportunity every kicker wants. To be able to go out there and hit it was pretty special to me.”
Gano attributes his success to some mechanical adjustments he made during the offseason. Special teams coach Danny Smith, however, doesn’t like for Gano to talk about those. Just make the kick, Smith says.
“It’s not as complex as it was before,” Gano said. “I feel so much more comfortable doing what I do now.”
Although Rocca’s botched hold led to a block in the Dallas game, he quickly mastered how Gano likes the ball tilted.
“They’re minute things, but they make a difference,” Gano said. “You’re talking about inches in making or missing a kick.”
At the season’s halfway point, Gano realizes he can’t let up. He has to maintain his accuracy over a full season to entrench himself as the team’s long-term kicking solution.
“I always want to be perfect, but I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “As long as I can keep building on it and improving, I’ll be happy.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- REDSKINS 2013: Breaking down the schedule, game by game
- NFL 2013: Ranking all 32 teams in terms of staying power
- REDSKINS 2013: Washington seeks staying power among NFL's elite
- With no blueprint, Redskin Hankerson seeks success as dad
- Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson learning to manage family life with football career
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warns Pakistani leaders of U.S. aid losses over drone-strike protests
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow