Film breakdown: A closer look at the 5 FG attempts the Redskins had blocked in 2011

A few weeks ago, I put together a pre-draft depth chart of each of the NFC East teams, with commentary.  On the Redskins depth chart, I had some harsh words for kicker Graham Gano:

Graham Gano was dead last in the NFL with a FG% of 68.6% in 2010.  In 2011, he was 29th at 75.6%.  Wooooo! Progress!  But seriously, if anyone can give me a reason why he’s still in the league, I’m all ears.

In the comment section, it was pointed out that Gano had a bunch of his FG attempts blocked.  When a FG is blocked, it can be the fault of the line for not providing adequate protection, or it can just be a simple matter of the kicker not getting enough elevation on his kicks.  After poking around a little with various people that follow the Redskins, nobody was quite sure how many kicks were on Gano and how many were on the OL, so I figured I’d take a closer look at all 5:

FG block #1:

The first block occurred in the 2nd quarter against the Cardinals.  This one is most certainly not on Gano.  Nobody blocks 6’8 star defensive end Calais Campbell, who shoots through a gap between Jammal Brown and DE Adam Carriker.  The pictures pretty much speak for themselves on this one:

On the reverse angle, note Adam Carriker, who is blown off the line and pushed 5 yards into the backfield.  It is arguable whether he or Jammal Brown was at fault on this one (I’d lean toward Brown), but in my opinion, it is still concerning that Carriker is part of the FG protection team.  I know it’s common for some teams to use defensive linemen as blockers on the FG team, but it’s not ideal:

Judgment: Clearly not on Gano.

FG block #2:

The second block occurred the following week in Dallas, a game the Skins lost by 2.  Again, this one is clearly not on Gano.  The snap is somewhat high, but should have been handled with relative ease by holder Sav Rocca.  He does not:

Gano is forced to do that little doomed FG stutter step, which gives Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh enough time to get around the corner for the block:

Judgment: Clearly not on Gano.

FG block #3:

Block #3 was part of the disaster in Toronto against the Bills.  This one is a 49 yard attempt, so right off the bat the trajectory is already going to be somewhat lower than normal.  Buffalo DT Marcel Dareus gets penetration up the middle:  For this one, we’ll go to the coach’s film for a sideline view.  Note the line of scrimmage, which is the 31 yard line:

And now note where Dareus actually makes the block:

That would be 4 yards of penetration.  Who’s the Redskin that got pushed back 4 yards to the 35 yard line?  That would be another defensive lineman, #64 Kedric Golston.  Again, not ideal having defensive linemen blocking on the FG team.

Judgment: Not Gano’s fault.

FG block #4:

On this block, the Seahawks’ FG block team attacks the same spot the Bills attacked, the RG, with the exact same result.  This time it’s defensive tackle Red Bryant.  Note that the line of scrimmage is the 5 yard line:

And note the push that Bryant gets:

Who’s the Redskin laying flat on his back at the 9 yard line?  That would be #63 Will Montgomery.  This simply can’t happen:

Judgment: Not on Gano.

FG block #5:

Same exact story as FG blocks 3 and 4.  Eagles DT Derek Landri simply bowls over the RG.  Look at the blue line, which denotes the line of scrimmage, and note that Landri is 4 yards deep into the backfield:

Who’s the Redskin RG that Landri has pushed 4 yards into the backfield?  This time, it’s a third different player lined up at RG, Tyler Polumbus.  It seems as if the Redskins were trying anybody at this point:

Judgment: Not on Gano.

If you were new to football and watched every Redskins game this season, you would probably think that blocked FG’s are common.  They are not.  In 2011, there were 35 blocked FG’s or PAT’s.  The Redskins accounted for 6 of them (Yes, they also had a PAT blocked).  In other words, they were on the wrong end of 17% of the NFL’s blocked FG’s/PAT’s last year.  In fact, one in every 8.2 FG attempts were blocked!  That is absolutely embarrassing.

I can’t help but feel bad for Graham Gano.  If you were to look up his stats out of context, they’d say he was 31 of 41, or a paltry 75.6%, when in reality, it was more like 31 of 36, for a much more respectable 86.1%.  And now he has competition in camp this year.

The Redskins drafted 3 offensive linemen this year: OG Josh LeRibeus, OG Adam Gettis, and OT Tom Compton.  This was not a surprise of course, seeing as the Skins’ OL struggled to not only play well, but also stay healthy.  Hopefully for Skins fans, those three guys not only provide good depth, but can also occasionally give Graham Gano a fighting chance to get a FG off in 2012.


  1. serivce says:

    jTPB1f I really enjoy the article.Really looking forward to read more.

  2. cheap says:

    VYbFtu I think this is a real great article post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  3. seo fiver says:

    salutations from over the sea. precise blog I will return for more.

  4. DaCrock says:

    Despite the five blocked FGs, it was evident to those of us who have watched Gano from the start of his career that he made big strides from 2010 to 2011. For those who question Gano’s ability, please note that he made 4 of 6 field goal attempts from 50+ yards in 2011–one of them from 59 yards out. Obviously, at this stage he is not the best kicker in the league, but he is a young guy with a strong leg and upside that should not be overlooked. I don’t mind signing Rackers (36 yrs. old at the start of the 2012 season) to provide competition in training camp, but I believe Gano (25 yrs. old) makes more sense for the Skins if they can solve their blocking issues.

  5. I always visit your page and retrieve everything you post here but I never commented but today when I saw this post, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting here. Fantastic page.

  6. stevea says:

    Great analysis, Jimmy. Kudos.

    One question, if you please. Will Montgomery is one of the strongest players on the Redskins, if not the strongest. He usually anchors well against DT bull rushes. Do you have the capability of looking at the play where he ends up on his back in slo-mo and up close? Can you tell if he was simply overpowered or if a teammate stepped on his foot or tripped him?



    1. He pretty much got steamrolled. Strength is a very important and necessary trait for an O lineman, but on any given play a guy can lose leverage and end up on his ass.

      1. stevea says:

        Yep. Understood.

        Thanks, Jimmy.


  7. AustonianAggie says:

    Wow I remember the Redskins had OL injuries last year but that was pathetic.

  8. JJeaglerooter says:

    Another great insight from Jimmy K.
    Thanks for the giggles at the lolskins.
    And superb breakdown of blocking failures.

    1. Beaver says:

      Stay classy Igglefans. Did you clean the trophy case recently?

    2. Dre says:

      Yup, I will book you for the Super Bowl this year again. No. It’s more likely Vick will be hurt again and the backups will be playing for sure.

      With all that Skins were still 5-11. They’re turning the corner and then you Iggles fans will have no chance.

      1. JJeaglerooter says:

        Haters be hatin

  9. says:

    This is the first time in a very long while that I’ve read an article about the Skins from start to finish.

    Nice read.

    1. And it was about a kicker! Score!

  10. Chastle says:

    Yes blocked kicks article this is all that I have ever dreamed for but hey thank you for acknowledging the comments I am a skins fan and I have hated gano but he didn’t do anything to lose his spot in my opinion

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      Hey, I recognize you, ha. Thanks for pointing it out initially. I’m more interested in getting it right than foolishly backing a flawed statement. Commenters are smart. Well, not as much here in recent weeks… but usually. Always welcome people pointing out that I’m wrong about something, especially if it’s done respectfully.

  11. HogHunter says:

    Excellent analysis as usual Jimmy. Gano gets a lot of heat and he deserved some of it. Last season special teams were an absolute joke. Allowing Banks to take nearly every kick out of the end zone, only to make it to the 15 yard line. The directional kick offs that went out of bounds when Gano can usually nail it to the back of the endzone. And the worst was the line collapsing on those field goals and the one PAT. It really was embarrassing. Danny Smith’s job has to be in jeopardy if there aren’t major improvements this year.

  12. Trueblue63 says:

    Makes me appreciate Quinn on the Giants, not much, but at least a little

  13. DaCrock says:

    Good analysis. Most Skins fan believe the real culprit in Gano’s high percentage of blocked kicks is Danny Smith, who is making those decisions to put guys like Kedric Golston and Adam Carriker on the line to block for field goal attempts. Gano has also been criticized for occasionally having kickoffs go out of bounds on directional kicks. But again, as Skins fans, we question why Smith has him making directional kicks when he can boom the ball to the back of or beyond the end zone. Who cares if a directional kick allows us to have a team’s offense start at the 17 yard line (when it works) vs. the 20 yard line on a touchback? The 3 yard reward doesn’t hardly justify the risk of a poor directional kick going out of bounds and having a team start its drive at the 40 yard line (not to mention the added risk of injury in covering a directional kick). I think Gano is a solid kicker with a big leg (booted a 59 yarder last season), but clearly–as your analysis shows–we need much better blocking up front and smarter coaching on special teams in terms of both personnel and strategy decisions.

    1. My dad used to complain about Danny Smith every week in the late 90’s when he was the ST’s coordinator for the Eagles.

      1. Alex K says:

        Ha! Same here. That big wad of bubblegum really got the old man going.

  14. RogerPodacter says:

    one comment jimmy:
    i think you did a good job of proving that each of these blocks were not on Gano. thats clear. however, i dont think we should just assume that he would have made each of these kicks, especially that 49 yarder. i think statistically, he would have probably missed one of them to keep an average closer to 80%.

    but hey, thats just nit picking the details, lol. nice read either way. thanks for the good details.

    1. I didn’t assume he would make them. I didn’t give him credit for making the blocked kicks. If I had done that, I’d have given him 36 of 41.

      Instead, I simply just took away the attempts that were blocked, which would be 31 of 36.

      1. RogerPodacter says:

        oh. right. how the heck did i misread that??

        i saw 31 of 41 turn to 31 of 36 and said ‘wait a minute there’.
        my bad. i blame the early morning haze.

  15. Jason-E says:

    Ok. So what have we learned? If the Redskins are turning to their DL to block that often, then their OL depth is worse than I thought. Second, they need a new specials teams coordinator. On the very first picture, the Redskins have two blockers for four rushers. That’s just piss-poor decision making on the coach. I really thought Gano sucked. Apparently not. He actually had a decent season when he got adequate blocking.

  16. ArthuroMolenda says:

    I didn’t know blocked FG could be interesting.

    Thank you for that.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      lol same here. that was fairly entertaining to read. thanks.

      1. slandog says:

        It was interesting, interesting to see another way we can laugh at the Skins. How many ways can they screw up and tolerate it again and again.

        Shanny really should be fired, he’s got no idea how to run a team. Elway saved him in Denver, but other then that he’s got nothing to speak of.

        1. Horatiusonthebridge says:

          It’s funn how the same old morons want the same old coaching carousel that worked so splendidly for the skins. We’ll keep Shanny. Thank you.

        2. Colin DMV says:

          Yes, Elway had a bunch of rings before Shanahan showed up. He definitely didn’t need Shanahan.

          And spare me the he had a great QB BS. Almost every single SB-winning coach in history had a great QB. From Lombardi (Starr) to Walsh (Montana) to Belichick (Brady). That’s normally how it works.

          Let me guess: you’re a Lavar and Chad fan? Either that or you’re some NBD Cowboys troll.

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