Many Ravens’ training camps have opened with questions of quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive lines.
But for the first time in franchise history, the Baltimore Ravens have another position posing questions on offense -- the kicker.
With Matt Stover no longer with the team, the placekicking duties are up for grabs, and
that makes for an interesting kick-by-kick battle between two youngsters in camp.
Graham Gano, an undrafted free agent out of Florida State, signed with the Ravens shortly after the draft.
As a senior in 2008, Gano was awarded the Lou Groza Award after hitting 24 of 25 kicks for the Seminoles.
Now he finds himself in a position battle with second-year kicker Steven Hauschka, who proved himself last year to be a reliable option to replace Matt Stover.
The coaching staff is already familiar with Hauschka in game situations, so Gano has to rely on practices and preseason games to show his abilities.
“I think throughout all these practices, I’ve shown them what I can do,” Gano said . “I just have to make sure that everything I’ve done in practice up to this point I do in the game.”
Translating success from practice to the game is another challenging act for a rookie in the NFL, especially for one trying to win a job at the same time.
“It all builds on consistency,” the Ravens rookie said. “If I do what I know I can do and stay true to my form, I know I will be able to prove to the coaches that I am good enough to play in the NFL and good enough to be on this team.”
Even though he is in a heated position battle and trying to impress everyone he can in camp, the first-year kicker hasn’t lost sight of the milestone that Thursday will be his first professional game.
“I think there’s always a little bit of nerves the first game,” Gano said. “I mean before the game I’ll have butterflies, but during the game I’ll be composed.”
Look for Graham Gano to get all the kicks in the second-half of the Ravens’ preseason opener against the Washington Redskins this Thursday and let us know what you think of him.