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Posted at 04:42 PM ET, 11/28/2011

Redskins’ protection broke down on blocked FG and PAT, Mike Shanahan says

The status of Redskins kicker Graham Gano has seemed shaky for the past three weeks. He missed two field goals in a Week 10 loss at Miami, and two more in a Week 11 overtime loss against Dallas. In Sunday’s 23-17 win over Seattle, he had both a 23-yard field goal attempt and an extra point try blocked.

Coach Mike Shanahan reiterated Monday, though, that the mistakes against the Seahawks were in protection and the misses were not on Gano. Therefore, the Redskins are not planning to bring in kickers to audition for Gano’s spot this week.


Graham Gano warms up before a September game at Cowboys Stadium. (Toni Sandys/Washington Post)
“We’re going with Graham,” Shanahan said. “It had nothing to do with Graham, with the missed field goal or missed extra point. That was totally in our protection scheme.”

Gano has made 17 of 26 field goals this season. His 65.4 percent success rate is last in the NFL, and his nine misses are more than any other kicker’s total. Shanahan attributed the blocks – he has had four field goals and the extra point blocked this year – to instability in the Redskins’ protection units. Kedric Golston, for instance, was a mainstay on that unit until he was lost for the season with a knee injury. But Shanahan clearly was not pleased.

“I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never had that happen to me,” Shanahan said. “You go through a season and have that many blocked. Any time you have a lot of people playing in different positions, mistakes are made. But to have that many mistakes is inexcusable.”

Shanahan also made clear that his faith in Gano is directly attached to Gano’s upcoming performances. He has said repeatedly that the first season for a kicker in the NFL is inordinately tough, which is why Shanahan stuck with Gano after he went 24 for 35 (68.8 percent) during 2010, Gano’s first full season in the NFL.

“Sometimes it’s a tough decision--do you go with a young guy like Graham,” Shanahan said. “Is he going to keep on getting better? Or is he not going to take advantage of his opportunities? I don’t know that.

“Obviously, he’s had a couple tough games. This game had nothing to do with Graham Gano. The other two games did have something to do with Graham Gano. Hopefully he takes advantage of those opportunities that’s presented to him in the future, and if not, obviously he won’t be with us. I’m hoping that he does take advantage of those opportunities, because he does it consistently in practice. Hopefully that mindset’s there in a game where he can come through for us, and if it is, he’ll be with us for a long time. But if not, it’s like all the positions: We got a lot of competition, and always try to find the top guy.”

By  |  04:42 PM ET, 11/28/2011

 
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