Redskins kicker Graham Gano probably won't be signing autographs for Redskins fans next season. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The Washington Redskins cut punter Hunter Smith Tuesday, two days after he failed to catch a high snap on what would have been a game-tying extra point in a 17-16 loss to Tampa Bay.

Smith was one of the worst punters in the NFL.  His gross average of 40.5 yards per kick ranked 30th in the league and was, well, gross.  The Redskins replaced Smith with Sam Paulescu.

As if the Skins’ punting woes weren’t bad enough, Washington’s kicker has missed more field goals than anyone in the NFL. Graham Gano missed two easy ones against the Buccaneers, a 24-yarder and a 34-yarder.  These are kicks that high school kickers should make, no matter how wet the field is.

Is Graham Gano the worst kicker in the NFL?  There’s no doubt that he is – the statistics back that up.  Gano has made just 68.8 percent of his kicks this year, missing 10 kicks.  The NFL average is about 85 percent.  But a more important question to ask would be:  How much better would the Redskins have been in recent seasons with kickers who were merely average or above average instead of bad?

Gano missed a potential 52-yard game-winning field goal against the Houston Texans in overtime and the Redskins lost 30-27.  He missed a 48-yarder in a game the Redskins lost to the Indianapolis Colts 27-24.  And then came Sunday’s fiasco.

In a poll asking, “Should Graham Gano keep his job as the Redskins’ kicker?” on the SB Nation D.C. blog, 72 percent of respondents said no.  What was wrong with the other 28 percent?

With so much focus on free agent busts, uneven quarterback play, and a lack of continuity over the last decade, it’s easy to forget that Washington’s special teams have been ignored. The Redskins have won seven or eight games four times in the Dan Snyder era, and this season they’ll probably end up with seven again.  In at least three of those five seasons, a better kicker could have led to records of 9-7 or even 10-6.  When you consider that until this season with Brandon Banks, Washington’s kick returns have been abysmal since Brian Mitchell left, it’s clear that the Redskins have paid too much attention to glamorous positions and not enough to blue-collar special teams.

Talk all you want about Tom Brady, but he hasn’t won a Super Bowl without Adam Vinatieri.  Neither has Peyton Manning. So when you complain about questionable coaching decisions or Donovan McNabb, don’t forget double G.

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