- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2011

Kicker Graham Gano had no competition during the Washington Redskins’ training camp last season, which was a bit odd. Coach Mike Shanahan needed that extra roster spot to evaluate other positions, but Gano had only four games of NFL experience.

He went on to miss 11 field goal attempts last season, tied for most in the NFL, and his 69 percent accuracy rate on field goals was the worst in the league among qualifying kickers.

The Redskins want to avoid a repeat of that, so they agreed to terms with 10-year-veteran Shayne Graham on Monday. The former Virginia Tech standout ranks third on the NFL’s all-time field goal percentage list (86 percent).

“I welcome competition,” Gano said. “It only makes you better.”

Gano has a small margin for error in his third season with the Redskins. Coaches are convinced that Gano’s problem is mental, so he must prove his growth during the preseason.

He was involved in a fun scene at the end of Monday’s practice. The field goal team lined up for a 37-yard attempt while the rest of the team huddled around them and tried to distract Gano. They yelled and coaches blew air horns. Gano made the kick.

“It always makes it exciting when that happens,” he said. “In Baltimore, they would pull my pants down and squirt water on me.”

Holliday will report to Cardinals

Defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday said in a text message that he will report to the Arizona Cardinals to complete Sunday’s trade for running back Tim Hightower.

Holliday, a 13-year veteran, did not say whether he was contemplating retirement. Asked if he had to play another year to be eligible for the improved retirement benefits expected to be in the new CBA, he wrote, “Not sure …”

Hightower was expected to join the Redskins on Monday afternoon.

“He can run, he can pass protect,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’s a third-down back.”

Using Hightower on third downs would spare first-string tailback Ryan Torain some wear as he looks to put his injury woes behind him. Keiland Williams was a serviceable third-down back a year ago in his rookie season; he was much better than Torain at picking up pass rushers. But Hightower is an all-around upgrade because he’s been productive on first and second downs.

Buchanon plans to re-sign

Cornerback Phillip Buchanon will re-sign with the Redskins. He announced his intentions Monday on his Twitter account.

Buchanon, 30, started four games last season. He had two interceptions and two forced fumbles as Washington’s third cornerback. He played on the outside in the nickel defense.

Newly signed cornerback Josh Wilson said he has extensive experience playing the slot, so he could play inside in the nickel, just like Carlos Rogers did last year. …

Virginia tight end Joe Torchia, Michigan linebacker Obi Ezeh, Wisconsin receiver Isaac Anderson and Richmond linebacker Eric McBride are undrafted free agents who practiced with the Redskins on Monday.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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