Among the more intriguing battles this preseason is the one at kicker, the position where Shayne Graham is trying to unseat Graham Gano.
Gano struggled late last year with the Redskins, hitting just 3 of 7 field goals in the final month of the season, while Graham was a perfect 14 of 14 for the New England Patriots.
Graham did not make a good impression Friday night, however. He shanked his first field goal attempt badly in the first quarter of the preseason opener, then missed a 49-yarder as the first half came to a close.
On the first attempt, Graham drove the ball low and several yards to the left, eliciting a gasp from the FedEx Field crowd. As time expired in the first half, Graham pushed a long try wide right.
“I guess it’s one of those days where you really don’t have much you can say afterwards,” Graham said. “I know what my job is to do and I had probably the worst day that I’ve ever had. You can’t really compete if you’re not performing well.”
Gano hit a field goal in the third quarter and two more in the fourth. In the first half, he converted an extra point and throughout the evening, his kickoffs sailed through the back of the end zone. A new rule this season moved the ball up to the 35-yard line on kickoffs.
“I felt good out there,” Gano said. “Nick [Sundberg] snapped the ball real well, he’s a solid snapper, and Sav [Rocca]did a good job holding...It felt good to get back out there and hit the ball good.”