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Gano's Job Safe For Now, But Pressure Is On

Posted Nov 28, 2011

Head coach Mike Shanahan is sticking with struggling kicker Graham Gano. He said both the field goal block and the PAT block in the Seattle game were the result of poor blocking.


Will the Redskins bring in any free agent kickers this week to compete with Graham Gano?

Head coach Mike Shanahan offered up a simple response.

“We’re going with Graham," he said.

Shanahan said on Monday that he is sticking with Gano as the Redskins’ kicker.

Last week, Shanahan suggested that Gano’s job was on the line after he had missed a pair of field goals, including a potential overtime game-winner, in the Redskins’ 27-24 loss to Dallas.

On Sunday in New Orleans, Gano connected on a 25-yard attempt but had a 23-yarder and a PAT blocked. He also had a kickoff sail out of bounds, resulting in a penalty that gave the Seahawks the ball at the 40 in the fourth quarter.

On Monday, Shanahan made a point to say after the game that Gano was not at fault for the kicks. Even though short field goals typically require higher elevation on kicks, Shanahan indicated that was not the issue.

“It was nothing to do with the kicker – nothing,” Shanahan said.

He said that poor blocking technique had allowed Seahawks defender Red Bryant to blitz through and swat the kicks.

The interior line of the Redskins’ field goal unit has been in flux due to injuries. Kedric Golston is sidelined for the season with a knee injury and Trent Williams has been slowed by a knee injury even though he played left tackle vs. Seattle.

“You miss a guy like Golston who has been in there and all of a sudden you miss a guy like Trent – all of that happens and you’re off your technique a little bit,” Shanahan said. “Bryant is a very powerful guy. We were letting him in there scot-free and we didn’t use the type of technique we normally use. We’ll work on that and hopefully improve quickly.”

As for Gano, the pressure is still on.

Last year, Gano was 24-of-35 on field goals, with one block, a 68.6 percent clip that was among the worst in the NFL.

This season, he is 17-of-26 on field goal attempts, with four blocks. That’s a 65.4 percent clip.

One of his successful field goals was a 59-yard kick that set a new franchise record for the longest in Redskins history.

Clearly Gano has talent but he has to develop consistency.

“Sometimes it’s a tough decision – do you go with a young guy like Graham? Is he going to keep on getting better or is he not going to take advantage of opportunities? I don’t know,” Shanahan said.

“Hopefully he takes advantage of the opportunities that are presented to him in the future and, if not, obviously he won’t be with us. I’m hoping he does take advantage of those opportunities because he does it consistently in practice and hopefully that mindset is there in the games.

“If it is he’ll be with us for a long time and, if not, it’s like all of the positions where we have a lot of competition. [We’re] always trying to find the top guy.”

 

 

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