Going into a tense weekend of cuts at Redskins Park, there’s one unit on the team that appears to have found some stability.
After an up and down 2010, kicker Graham Gano came into camp as a relatively controversial character in Redskins Nation. Since then, his fortunes have changed, and he has done nothing to give anyone any reason for doubt. On field goals, he was perfect, going 10-for-10. On extra points, he was perfect, going 8-for-8.
It’s hard to beat perfect.
At no other point in his NFL career, has Gano had a perfect streak for four straight games. His previous record was two straight, with he had done on several occasions.
Gano was also dominant under the new kickoff rules, booming 16 of his 23 kickoffs for touchbacks.
[Random Gano Fact: The name "Graham" loosely translates to "gravel area." "Gano" loosely translates to the "opening of a lake, river," or someone who is "short in stature." Compared to punter Sav Rocca, I think anyone is short in stature.]
Will this preseason success translate to the regular season? Will he handle the tough winter winds in Washington, New York, and Philly? Will he handle the humidity of Miami? Hard to predict, but he’s done everything asked of him in the preseason.
Even if there is another talented kicker on the team:
On the principle that he can do everything else well, I would put Tim Hightower in the mix at quarterback.
As far as the punting game is concerned, Rocca will be providing Washington with Thunder From Down Under in 2011. In the last two games, Rocca has belted punts from 63 and 65 yards, respectively, and appears to be hitting his regular season stride.
He ended the preseason with a 20 punts, for a 44-yard average, and a 36.6-yard net average. He landed seven inside the 20, three touchbacks, seven fair catches, and nine returns.
As head coach Mike Shanahan said at the beginning of training camp, “I hope to not need a punter,” but if you need one, this is the guy you want.
Rocca also factors into the stellar kicking game, working hard to get up to speed with long snapper Nick Sundberg, and providing a steady target for Gano’s boot.
Together, this trio could go a long way towards fixing the kicking crisis from 2010, and winning the ever-present battle for field position.
Tags: graham gano, kicking game, sav rocca, special teams, tim hightower, washington redskins
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