The most popular topic on my timeline right now is Graham Gano and, more specifically, how soon he should join the ranks of the unemployed. Missing a potential game-winning field goal in overtime against your team's most hated rival will do that.
Although I enjoy the occasional virtual tar and feathering this one needs to stop. The guy missed a 52-yard field goal. Around the NFL this year, field goals of 50 yards or longer are good about 68 percent of the time so one from 52 yards probably translates into about a two in three shot at making it. Those are decent odds, but not the kind you should lose your job over if you come out on the wrong side.
And, Redskins fans, do you really want to go back into the pool of unemployed kickers? Michael Hustead or Kris Heppner, anyone? And do you really want to send a guy who could be the next David Akers packing?
Gano is young and the Redskins have been living through his growing pains for about two years now. The team endured him making a league-worst 68.6 percent of his field goals last year. He’s not much better this year but three of his misses were blocked. Before yesterday he was three of four from 50+ yards including that team-record 59 yarder against the 49ers.
Not only that, Gano is arguably the best at kicking off in the NFL. Twenty two of his 35 kickoffs (62.8 percent) have resulted in touchbacks. The 10 times players returned his kickoffs they ended up with an average of 19.2 yards per return, the best in the NFL.
I know that there is a temptation to have heads roll in the wake of a frustrating loss. But it’s not like the loss cost the Redskins a playoff spot or anything. Graham Gano seems to be on the verge of being a very good kicker.
The better plan would be to let Gano continue to mature and work on his accuracy while the team is still maturing and working on what needs to be fixed. It would be a shame to go through the labor pains and then let some other team get the baby.