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Video: Kicking Lessons with Billy Cundiff

Posted by Andrew Walker on August 28, 2012 – 3:17 pm

The Washington Redskins announced several roster moves early Monday evening as they were required to cut their preseason roster down from 90 players to 75.

Though that roster number must be reduced to 53 by Friday, the team in the meantime took advantage of an opportunity to get itself a Pro Bowl kicker.

Billy Cundiff, who was named All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl in 2010 as a member of the Baltimore Ravens, signed with the Redskins on Tuesday, two days after he was released by the Ravens.

Cundiff brings with him several accolades, but one thing that stood out to me was that he set the NFL record for most touchbacks in a season (44) in 2010. Though many point to field goal percentage as the main attribute for a kicker, coaches also look at where their kickers can help in the field-position game, and Cundiff is certainly a standout in that regard.

For those looking for a close-up at Cundiff’s kicking techniques on field goals and kickoffs, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a video (via coachzauner on YouTube) of Cundiff working out with former NFL kicking coach Gary Zauner:

Read more »

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(Some) Resting ‘Skins Catch Soccer Match

Posted by Andrew Walker on July 31, 2012 – 1:07 pm

During training camp it’s probably difficult for the Redskins players to find a free minute or two to do anything but eat, sleep and drink football.

So when the opportunity arises, the guys on the team are going to take full advantage.

Read more »

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Gano Fails At Waffles, Carriker Consoles

Posted by Brian Tinsman on April 11, 2012 – 12:54 pm

via @GrahamGano

Here lies the tragically deformed breakfast of Redskins kicker Graham Gano, tasting of sweet syrup and bitter disappointment.

Gano shared a picture of the disappointing waffle with Twitter followers (@GrahamGano) shortly after it’s flawed creation.  With only one of the four quadrants properly filled with batter, Chef Gano was forced to admit his most-important meal’s shortcomings:

 @GrahamGano: Not exactly me best waffle ever…

Indeed not.

But in the true spirit of team camaraderie, Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker (@BigPoppaPump94) tweeted more of his cosmic advice, exactly one minute later.  It’s almost as if he was reaching out to Gano via Twitter: Read more »

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Gano Has Perfect First Workout In Bubble

Posted by Brian Tinsman on April 2, 2012 – 12:25 pm

AP Image

Players may not officially re-assemble at Redskins Park for another two weeks, but the intrigue of the new Redskins practice bubble has led to a steady stream of players through the facilities to check it out.

One player who has been a regular for rehab purposes is kicker Graham Gano, who cracked three vertebrae in a first-half scrum against the Eagles in Week 17.  As you may remember, he was visibly hobbled during the game, but continued to play through the pain.  It was not until after the game that the prognosis was delivered, and he has been carefully working his way back since the season ended.

This story comes with a happy development today, however, as Gano got to try out the brand new bubble for the first time, complete with the sweet hanging goal posts.  Gano gave his own analysis of the workout, complete with a Twitter photo (@GrahamGano): Read more »

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Gano Kicking Again After Breaking Back

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 12, 2012 – 12:11 pm

AP Image

Remember that old myth about how stepping on a crack breaks your kicker’s back?  Graham Gano would appreciate it if you kindly avoided broken pavement from now on.

Against the Eagles in Week 17, the Redskins had a chance to tie the game midway through the second quarter with a Gano field goal from 36 yards out.  But for the fifth time last season, the defense crashed the line and the kick was blocked by Eagle Derek Landri.

In the ensuing scrum for the football, Gano got rocked by a defensive player and came up hobbling.  It looked like punter Sav Rocca may be needed for his placekicking skills, but Gano worked it out and managed to return for an extra point, a 27-yard field goal, and two kickoffs in the second half.

It wasn’t discovered until after the game that Gano had broken three vertebrae on the blocked kick, and gritted his way through debilitating pain in the second half. Read more »

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Graham Gano’s Historically-Significant Leg

Posted by Brian Tinsman on March 8, 2012 – 6:03 pm

AP Image

Late last week, the Redskins announced that they had tendered a contract to kicker Graham Gano, bringing him back for a fourth season in Washington.

The ‘Graham-Champion’ of a brief kicking competition with Shayne Graham in training camp, Gano improved on his 2010 numbers and accounted for a career-high 119 points.

Along the way, he also broke the franchise record for longest field goal, with a 59-yard boom from midfield against the 49ers at FedExField.  In an otherwise up-and-down year for the Redskins’ field goal team, everything came together on a perfect play, allowing Gano to do what he does best: crush kicks from downtown.

Don’t believe me?  Check the Florida state football record book. Read more »

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Kicker Loving The New Practice Bubble

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 24, 2012 – 6:34 pm

The ending of last weekend’s AFC Championship game reminded everyone in the NFL that there is no such thing as an automatic kick, and that things can go awry from the moment coaches call for a field goal, until the ball hits the back net.

Plain and simple, kicking is a lot harder than it looks.

Part of preparing for tough kicking conditions is practicing repetitions in lousy weather conditions.  But another part of preparing to do a precision task is to prepare in perfect conditions–the type made possible with a practice bubble.

Count Redskins kicker Graham Gano as a big fan of the new indoor practice bubble at Redskins Park.  He tweeted his appreciation for the all-weather bubble a short time ago: Read more »

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Rocca Came Here To Win A Championship

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 4, 2012 – 2:29 pm

AP Image

Shortly before Christmas, I had the opportunity to talk football with Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Craig McMurtrie and his cameraman Louie Eroglu at Redskins Park.

It turned out that not only has Redskins punter Sav Rocca been a punting stud in Washington this season, but he’s also turned heads 10,000 miles away in his native Australia.  The reason why the American correspondents were uncharacteristically focused on sports that day, was to cover Rocca for the a national radio and television piece in Australia.

Here’s the radio clip, read in an authentic Australian accent: Read more »

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Halftime Report From Philadelphia

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 1, 2012 – 2:41 pm

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Redskins fullback Darrel Young spent four years of college only 17 miles from Lincoln Financial Field at Villanova University.  Villanova Stadium holds only 12,500 people, each of whom cheered on his defensive prowess

Today, in front of five time as many people, he’s silencing the Philadelphia crowd with his offensive ability, piling up 32 yards from a non-traditional playmaker position.  On top of that, he’s cleared the way for Evan Royster who continues his run of dominance as the Redskins tailback.

Averaging only 1.8 yards per carry in the first quarter, Royster has found his stride with 41 yards in the second quarter, including a 28-yard churn and burn scamper.  On that 28-yard run, he broke four tackles, something that Redskins running backs have struggled to do this season.  Forget the strategy of “one cut and go”– Royster cut four defenders nearly out of their shoes on one play.

At the half, Royster leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards.  Young is second and fourth, respectively.

One player that we should be celebrating in the first half is receiver Anthony Armstrong.  Armstrong has stretched the field deep today, but has been unable to sync up with quarterback Rex Grossman.  On two plays, Grossman was pressured and either checked down or forced the ball deep.  On the other play, he had time but it appeared that he waited half a beat too long, as the corner popped the ball in the air and the safety picked it off.

By trying the deep ball, the Redskins have opened up running plays and short passing routes underneath.  But the offense really needs these plays to work if they expect to keep pace in this game.

The Redskins passed up their best opportunity at points in the second quarter, when a field goal attempt from Graham Gano was blocked up the middle.  It’s been a frustrating year for blocked field goals, something that has been attributed in the past to the injuries and suspensions that the Redskins have weathered along the offensive line.  Whatever it is, it’s something that will need to be addressed in the offseason.

Receiver Jabar Gaffney had a solid first half, surpassing his career high in receptions with 67 this season.  His 25 yards put him within 56 yards of 1,000 on the season, for the first time in his career.  The Redskins need someone to step up big in the passing game in the second half.

After 30 minutes in The Linc, the Redskins still trail: Washington 0, Philadelphia 10.  Redskins will receive first in the second half.

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Redskins Ready To Rumble In ‘The Linc’

Posted by Brian Tinsman on January 1, 2012 – 1:02 pm

AP Image

Redskins players have taken and exited the field this afternoon, and they look ready to find meaning in this supposedly meaningless Week 17 game.

For Redskins punter Sav Rocca, this is his first return to his first NFL city, to take on a team that wanted to get younger at the punter postion.  In the first game against the Eagles this season, Rocca had a fine game, booting four times for a 42.5 average, a long of 53, and two punts downed inside the 20.

In pregame warmup, he and battery mate Nick Sundberg was rocketing bombs down the field.  Here’s his last effort:

Fellow special teamer Graham Gano was knocking his own missiles through the uprights from distances of 60 yards.  They both look calm and unaffected by the 10-15 mph winds.

On the offense, this is also the return of Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth to Philadelphia.  Gaffney is chasing a career-year, having already matched his touchdown mark and exceeded his yardage output for a season.  With a touchdown and 81 more yards, he’ll finish the season as the team’s top receiver, with his first 1,000 yard season and six touchdowns.

Stallworth wasn’t backing down from heckles during pregame warmup, and seemed especially fired up–even for him.  Here’s footage of the receivers warming up with coach Keenan McCardell:

Gaffney seems to have perfected the one-handed touchdown catch.  Nothing like a little flair to go with his best season ever.

Here are the players’ tweeted thoughts as kickoff approaches:


And in case you were wondering, not even one nationally recognized NFL expert is picking the Redskins to win.  This reminds me of when the Redskins went on the road two weeks ago and knocked off the Giants in decisive fashion.

Don’t count that out from happening again.  And don’t forget to participate in the “2012 Social Showdown” in the next few minutes.

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