As my associate has already reported, Graham Gano signed with the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, after cutting first year kicker, Justin Medlock. Gano and former Chargers kicker, Nate Kaeding, were brought in for practice a few days ago to compete for the open spot, and obviously Gano was chosen over Kaeding. Coach Rivera told the Official Panthers website, “They were both very good,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. “We saw tape of Graham, and when we watched him during the workout, there were a lot of positives. Hopefully, those things hold true. He kicked the ball very well. He kicked field goals from all over the field – hit a 62-yarder – and on his first kickoff he kicked them into the (tackling) dummies behind the end zone. It was pretty impressive.”
This is good news for the Panthers, who have had woes on the kicking front after releasing veteran kicker John Kasey two years ago. It was reported earlier that Gano was actually taking Kasey’s jersey number, the number four, but it is now reported that Graham will be wearing the number nine against the Eagles on Monday.
Gano’s record as a kicker is actually pretty solid. He has three years of experience in the NFL, spending all three years with the Washington Redskins. He tied the Redskin’s franchise record for field goals made last season, and has been reported as very clutch. Sadly he broke three vertebrae in his week seventeen matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was never able to prove himself to the Redskins after his injury, and was cut after only three pre-season field goal attempts. It was said that he was cut due to the fact that he wasn’t fully healed.
As for Medlock, the coaching staff thought that his lack of touchbacks and his missed field goals against Denver and Tampa, which could have changed the flow of those to games, were reason enough to cut him. I personally love the fact that the coaching staff is making big changes to change the tempo for the rest of ther season, and hopefully Gano will turn out to be opposite of Mare and Medlock, a bust. Graham is young, so if he does work out we can probably hope to see more than just a few years out of him. Gano will get his first start against the Philadelphia Eagles this Monday, in primetime. Please leave your thoughts about Gano and Medlock in the comments below.