July 30, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins kicker Graham Gano (4) walks onto the field prior to Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Final 53: Can Gano kick it?


Yes he can, and if he can’t then Washington shouldn’t be too bad off anyway. The Redskins brought in kicker Neil Rackers, formerly of the Houston Texans, this offseason. Rackers will challenge the incumbent, Graham Gano, who has now had to secure his own job more times than Tom Coughlin before the Super Bowl. You may recall last preseason when the Redskins brought in Shayne Graham to push Gano into improving on a mediocre 2010 campaign. Gano hit all three of his attempts while Shayne Graham missed both of his and was subsequently released. Here’s a pound-for-pound comparison of the two kickers battling it out in August.

Graham Gano

July 30, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins kicker Graham Gano (4) walks onto the field prior to Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
  • Age: 25
  • Years Pro: 3
  • College: Florida State
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 196 lbs
  • Career FG %: 73.8
  • 2011-12 FG %: 75.6
  • Career XP %: 96.7
  • 2011-12 XP %: 96.2
  • Longest Made: 59
  • Field Goals Blocked 2011-12: 5

Neil Rackers

July 30, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins kicker Neil Rackers (1) walks onto the field prior to Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
  • Age: 35
  • Years Pro: 13
  • College: Illinois
  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 202 lbs.
  • Career FG %: 80
  • 2011-12 FG %: 84.2
  • Career XP %: 98.4
  • 2011-12 XP %: 97.5
  • Longest Made: 57
  • Field Goals Blocked 2011-12: 0

If you simply stack the numbers against each other, Neil Rackers is clearly the better kicker and the favorite. Gano has tenure in DC and although he does have the occassional kick blocked, he makes up for it with sheer power. Rackers is one of the more reliable kickers in the NFL but has also benefited from playing in Arizona and Houston for nine of his now 13 years in the league. The Washington weather could be something that the Redskins take into account. The only issue is that they will have to judge how a kicker is going to do when the ball is half-frozen while it’s 100 degrees out. This competition appears to be very much in the air and will likely come down to a critical made or missed field goal. The battle for the kicker position will begin in Buffalo when the Redskins take on the Bills in a preseason rematch of last year’s 23-0 debacle in Canada.

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All statistical data courtesy of Redskins.com.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Preseason Final 53 Graham Gano Kicker Neil Rackers Washington Redskins