…Graham Gano said he’s matured as a kicker, which the Redskins are counting on after releasing Neil Rackers Monday morning. Gano won the job without having attempted a field goal in the first three preseason games. But they had been fairly close throughout practice and because he’s 11 years younger, Gano rated the edge.
“There’s definitely some relief,” Gano said. “You’re competing for a job with a guy like Neil. To win this job, I’m very excited about it. … I feel I’ve improved for sure, more mature. [But] I think I did a good job last year.”
Gano made 31 of 41 kicks in 2011, with five blocked. He made 14 of his last 15 field goals, with the lone miss a block. And he did not miss a kick under 49 yards after the opener. He went from taking three steps to two steps before his kicks in 2011, having worked out with veterans Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff before that season.
Gano is a career 73.8 percent kicker. He had 32 touchbacks on kickoffs last season and did well with directional kickoffs. Rackers is a career 80 percent kicker. He had 15 touchbacks last season, but showed enough leg this summer to reach the end zone consistently.
…Running back Evan Royster said he’ll play Wednesday after missing Saturday’s game because of a sore knee. Royster woke up with a sore right knee Wednesday, but an MRI was negative. He thought he could play Saturday, but the coaches rested him instead.
“I’m back to normal,” Royster said.
…Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger isn’t sure if he’ll play Wednesday, but he is optimistic about the Sept. 9 season opener at New Orleans.
He hasn’t played in the first three preseason games, which could leave him rusty for the opener.
“I’d say any opener in the NFL is a tough game anyway,” he said. “It’s going to present some challenges. It’s about me trusting my knee more than anything. I don’t expect there to be any dropoff… It’s not like I’ve never done it; it’s just been a while. That’s the comforting part. But it has been a while. I have to get out there and dust it off a little bit.”
…Corner Kevin Barnes said he was traded to Detroit after initially thinking he had been released. The compensation is uncertain. The Redskins cut rreceiver Lance Lewis. Barnes was caught by the surprise play of rookie Richard Crawford. Also, David Jones and second-year Brandyn Thompson have a chance to win the fifth corner spot – if the Redskins keep five that is. Because of tight competitions elsewhere, the Redskins could opt for only nine defensive backs instead of the usual 10.
…Right tackle Jammal Brown underwent more surgery to repair ligaments in his hip, according to the Washington Post. He faces a reported recovery time of four to six weeks. Brown is on the physically unable to perform list. The Redskins could leave him there to start the season, then re-evaluate his status after week 6 per PUP list rules.