Washington Redskins special teams coach Danny Smith said the competition between kickers Graham Gano and Neil Rackers will come down to their production in actual games.
Gano, entering his third year with the Redskins, and Rackers, a 13-year veteran, have kicked head-to-head in practices, with Gano making 18 of 21 attempts, and Rackers making 17 of 21.
Smith said the kickers are always being evaluated, but what matters most is how each handles pressure in games.
“It’s progressing, but it comes down to the games. … We’re going to put them in those pressure situations,” Smith said.
The plan for Thursday’s preseason opener is for Gano to handle the opening kickoff (if the Redskins do in fact kick off), have him kick the first extra-point attempt or field goal and the ensuing kickoff. Rackers will then go through the same scenario of kickoff, point after attempt, and kickoff.
That will help ensure the kickers get into a game-type rhythm more than alternating each kick would.
“I’m trying to make it game-like for them, trying to make it a routine for them,” Smith said. “Ultimately, it’s games [that determine the outcome]. It’s the pressure situations.”
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