One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with is watching John Kasay kick field goals for our rival Saints. He was the last piece from our original team and had made an impact in helping the Panthers reach their only Super Bowl. Ok yes that last kick-off went out of bounds and the Patriots did the rest from there, but we still miss him. So much so, that we have had two replacements over the past year and a half and are moving on to our third kicker.
Graham Gano will be taking over field goal kicking duties for Justin Medlock after three straight games with missed/blocked field goals. Medlock had started the year very well going seven for seven, but after a chance to extend the lead against the Buccaneers missed, the Panthers eventually lost the game in overtime. Maybe Gano will find that kicking magic as he takes Kasay’s old number 4, the only other player in franchise history to don the number. Gano was cut from the Washington Redskins during the offseason, but after a strong showing during workouts the Panthers went with him over Nate Kaeding, another kicker cut from his former team looking for redemption. Kaeding had been recovering from injury, which might have also helped influence the decision to go with Gano.
It’s unfortunate that Medlock didn’t work out. He was a bit of a journeyman with a short NFL stint with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 after being drafted in the fifth round out of UCLA. He then made his living in the Canadian Football League. He won the starting job during the offseason and preseason against Olindo Mare, the supposed replacement for John Kasay who missed several opportunities last season, especially chances to put games away. For now we turn our hopes to Graham Gano as we continue to make changes for this season in preparation for a better next year.