The season didn’t start well for Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano, and it didn’t end well, either.
After missing the potential game-winning field goal in the season opener at Denver, Gano went on to miss eight field goals by the end of the year, a high for him as a Panthers kicker. He had three misses in the season finale Sunday at Tampa Bay.
“Frustrating day,” he said after the game. “I was having a solid year statistically up to this point today. It was definitely a frustrating game. It was a poor performance. I have to play better.”
He also broke a bone in his foot late in the season.
But his performance Sunday prompted questions to coach Ron Rivera as to whether the Panthers would consider bringing in competition for Gano ahead of 2017. Rivera alluded that yes, the team would.
During his yearly exit interview Monday afternoon, Rivera doubled down.
“I think competition is gonna be real good for everybody,” he said. “Everybody.”
In other special teams news, punter Andy Lee is expected to make a full recovery after going on injured reserve at midseason with a pulled hamstring.
Lee said Monday that “in three or four weeks” he would be back to his usual routine.