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Kicking Competition Begins Tonight?

Posted Aug 18, 2012

After a Bills game that featured just two kickoffs and one extra point, Graham Gano and Neil Rackers are looking for opportunities to compete tonight vs. the Bears.

The Redskins kicking competition got off on a bad foot last week, as the circumstances of a low scoring game limited the opportunities for both kickers

Incumbent kicker Graham Gano got the extra point opportunity in the first quarter, as well as the ensuing kickoff.  Neil Rackers got the second half kickoff.

Both kickers are hoping for more opportunities tonight, in their quest to become the Redskins kicker on opening day.

"Neil and I talked about it, and we definitely want more opportunities, but that will come," Gano said earlier this week.  "We have three more game, so we’re not worried about it.

"Sometimes that happens in the first game, but I’m sure we’ll have a good competition by the time the four games are up."

Gano finished last season with five missed kicks and five blocked kicks, skewing his percentage numbers downward.  Fully recovered from the back injury he suffered in Week 17, Gano is confident he'll win yet another kicking competition.

"I feel like I’m controlling what I can control, not really worrying about the competition," Gano said.  "I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. You just have to go day by day and try and get better."

Redskins coaches have said that the competition will boil down to results in practice and preseason action.  Gano may be younger and the incumbent, but he'll need to produce to get a leg up in this competition.

"I’ve had young guys that have been very successful and I’ve had older guys,” said special teams coordinator Danny Smith. "I don’t care if he’s young or old. If he can kick, he’ll do."

Rackers is a 12-year NFL veteran, and has been tested with training camp battles in more seasons than not.

Rackers is singularly focused on winning the competition and keeping his NFL career alive.

"I feel great," he said earlier in camp.  "I've been hitting the ball well. I'm going to do this until 32 teams tell me no. If someone wants to give me a job at 70, I'll do it then, too."

Rackers will get the first opportunity for the Redskins tonight, taking the start in place of Gano.