Graham Gano knew he needed to change things this offseason.
His first full NFL season concluded with him making only 68.6 percent of his field goal attempts – third-worst in the league.
He made three game-winning overtime field goals for Washington, but Gano also missed 11 field goals for the 6-10 Redskins, who suffered five losses by three points or fewer.
So after a short rest period, Gano set out to change his approach. The Florida State product always had taken a three-step approach on field goals, but last season he noticed that his first jab step was off for some reason. So Gano decided that he would use only two steps on his approach in the future.
One fewer footstep meant less momentum and the need for increased speed, so Gano this past winter and spring hired a personal trainer.
Part of the training regimen that Gano’s trainer put him through required the kicker to begin doing squats, an exercise he hadn’t attempted since his freshman year of college. Since the end of the season, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Gano has bulked up by 15 pounds. He routinely squats 225 pounds and has recorded a one-rep max of 325.
“I’m feeling good. I’ve been working all offseason with Chris Gorres at Sport and Health and I feel more explosive,” Gano said. “My squat’s gone up a ton and I can almost dunk. That shows I’ve gotten a lot more explosive.”
Gano also spent the offseason breaking down film of kickers who use the two-step approach. Earlier this month, when he resumed kicking, he began using the new technique.
“I’ve kind of toyed with it the last few offseasons, but now I’ve watched film of some guys that do it just to see how they do it,” Gano said. “They look so fluid doing it, and I’ve just tried to emulate them and it feels natural. It’s also been more consistent.”
Gano came out to the Redskins’ informal player-led minicamp Wednesday and worked on field goals when his teammates weren’t running plays at midfield. At one point Gano connected on back-to-back 60-yarders.
“The space was limited, but I just was hitting from 55, 60,” Gano said. “Some of them didn’t go as far, but they were all pretty straight. I’m feeling really good about it. I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks, but it’s been good.”