As CBSSports.com recently noted, Gano has established himself as one of the better kickers in the league. He converted 30 of 36 field goal attempts and 56 of 59 extra point tries for a franchise record and career high 146 points last year -- due in part to playing alongside an offense run by NFL MVP Cam Newton, who propelled the Panthers to impressive scoring totals. Newton's ability to keep the offense moving was a major factor in Gano ranking second in points in the NFL behind New England's Stephen Gostkowski (151). Can he continue that run? It's not a reach to believe he can. Gano has converted at least 80 percent of his field goal attempts each of the last four seasons and has attempted 35 or more field goals each of the last two. CBS notes that he's a little spotty from 50-plus yards, but that shouldn't keep you from rolling with him as your primary kicker this season.
Graham Gano 2015 Outlook
In response to the new 33-yard PAT attempt, Gano offered the following response via Twitter: “Should have changed the extra point to a 50 yard field goal. That would have been more interesting.” He was joking, but point taken. Gano was 6-for-6 on field goals of 50 yards or longer in 2013, and he’s 12-of-17 from that distance since 2011. Gano is also adept at the 32- to 33-yard range established by moving the point-after snap from the two to the 15-yard line. He is 5-for-5 from that distance for his career. He is 19-for-21 from 30 to 39 yards the past three years at Carolina. “Thirty to 40-yard field goals should be made, but I’m sure if you move it back there will be guys that miss them here and there,” Gano told the Panthers’ official website. “I expect to make every kick, and that’s not something that will change. Nothing will change mentally or form wise.” And given his long-distance ability, Gano will remain a worthy daily game prospect.
Graham Gano 2014 Outlook
And after signing a contract extension in March, Gano is set to make Charlotte his home for the next four years. Carolina signed him during the 2012 season to replace struggling kicker Justin Medlock. Gano impressed, connecting on nine of 11 attempts in the final six games. He impressed again in 2013, making a career-best 88.9 percent of his field goals on 24-of-27 kicks while converting all 42 of his extra points. He made all six of his tries from at least 50 yards. That production earned Gano his new deal. The Panthers made a commitment to Gano, but he knows job security is a relative term, particularly for a kicker. "I don't know if you can say it is a good level of security, because every week I am still going to have to go out and perform," Gano said. Worth noting, Gano is most proud of his touchback rate, which played a role in the Panthers' defense ranking second in the league. His 77.8 touchback rate on kickoffs was the highest in the league since 1994.