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Former Redskins K Gano hopes to deliver winning field goal in Super Bowl

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Former Redskins K Gano hopes to deliver winning field goal in Super Bowl

If Sunday’s Super Bowl comes down to the final moments, Panthers kicker Graham Gano hopes it involves a field goal attempt. And that he’s the kicker lining up to take it.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that since I first started playing,” Gano said this week in Santa Clara, Calif., where Carolina is set to Denver in Super Bowl 50. “I am hoping for it. So hopefully it does come down to that. I hope that every game, and that's what makes my job the most fun.”

Yep, that’s the same Graham Gano that kicked for the Redskins from 2009-2011. The same one that bounced back from a shaky few years in Washington to become one of the league's steadiest kickers. In fact, the 28-year-old was ranked by ProFootballFocus.com as the game's second most effective kicker in 2015.

The Redskins’ revolving door at kicker has stopped—for now—thanks to a solid season by Dustin Hopkins. But I still occasionally wonder ‘what if?’ when Gano’s name comes up.

Gano had an NFL-high five field goals blocked in 2011 and was shown to the door at the end of training camp the following year. He was replaced by Billy Cundiff, who was replaced by Kai Forbath, who was replaced by Hopkins.

Gano, meanwhile, landed in Carolina late in the 2012 season and has carved out a nice little career for himself.

This season, however, has been of a mixed bag for the Florida State product, who finished second in the NFL in scoring with 146 points. He’s converted 33 of 39 field goal attempts, including the playoffs. He had some kicks blocked early in the season (opponents anticipating the snap count was a problem) but he’s also been clutch, delivered a game-winners against the Colts, in OT, and the Giants, as time expired, to help the Panthers stay unbeaten through 14 games.

Gano’s biggest strength, though, may be his big leg. This season, he ranked first (tied with New England’s Stephen Gostkowski) for forcing the most touchbacks on kickoffs with 69, which played a major role in Gano finishing second behind Baltimore’s Justin Tucker in ProFootballFocus.com’s overall rankings.

Another strength that’s helped Gano last the past three-plus season in Carolina? His poise under pressure. Which, of course, might be tested if Sunday’s game does, indeed, come down to a last second field goal.

“I don’t get nervous,” Gano said. “I used to get nervous earlier on in my career, but I have been playing for 7 or 8 years now. Even two weeks ago in the NFC Championship, I think at the beginning I had a few butterflies in my stomach, but I think you only get nervous if you aren’t prepared and we do a good job preparing.”

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The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

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@kerrigan91

The Kerrigans are having a baby and, WOW, this is all so very exciting

The Kerrigan family is about to make a big-time addition to its roster.

Ryan and his wife, Jessica, already have two very, VERY, very, very cute bulldogs in their household. 

But on Tuesday, the two announced in separate Instagram posts that Jessica is 18 weeks pregnant and that a third human Kerrigan will arrive in 2019.

"Can I eat dis sign aftur da picturr iz over?" George the bulldog said when reached for comment on the news.

"How did dey gett such a smawl jerzey for da baby alreddy?" Franklin the other bulldog added.

This is all very wonderful.

Come next March, the world is about to get a little precious-er.

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Adrian Peterson's impressive day vs. the Panthers wasn't exactly supposed to happen

Adrian Peterson's impressive day vs. the Panthers wasn't exactly supposed to happen

When you don't hear from someone you wanted to hear from, you typically follow up.

But on Sunday during the Redskins' 23-17 win over the Panthers, Jay Gruden actually didn't follow up with Adrian Peterson about a plan the two first discussed leading up to kickoff.

Everyone associated with burgundy and gold should be OK with that, however, after seeing how things played out.

During his weekly, exclusive interview with JP Finlay on the Redskins Talk podcast, Gruden explained how Peterson's injury situation almost prevented the running back from posting his crucial 17-carry, 97-yard stat line. 

"I talked to him before the game, had a sit-down with him," the head coach said. "I told him I was probably only gonna use him on short-yardage and goal line if that, you know? Because I want him to heal, we have a long season ahead of us." 

Heading into Week 6, Peterson was dealing with shoulder, ankle and knee issues. Plus, he's 33 years old at a position where that number is way more common on a player's jersey than in his bio under "age."

So, Gruden's concern made some sense, especially considering how necessary a productive Peterson has been to the 'Skins' success in 2018. Problem is, the two never connected again, so the coach's pitch count was never executed.

"He says, 'Oh, just let me go early, I'll let you know how I'm doing,'" Gruden recalled. "We let him go early and I never heard from him so I just kept him in there. He played great. He's a pro, he's a stud."

For those of you now wondering if this means you should start ignoring emails from your boss or not text your buddy back and still expect success, let's not get too carried away here. In this instance, a lack of communication worked for the future Hall of Famer, but that doesn't mean it's going to work for you.

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