Five times this preseason, Shayne Graham attempted a field goal for the Texans, and he was perfect on every try. But the 11-year veteran was still the underdog in a competition with rookie Randy Bullock until Sunday, when it was announced that the fifth rounder from Texas A&M had a groin injury that would sideline him for the 2012 campaign. But don't expect Graham to breathe a proverbial 'sigh of relief'.
"I don't have anything handed to me," Graham said Monday. "I've still got to earn everything I have here. There's another preseason game, and then every week during the regular season, you've still got to earn your job, so I don't feel like there's anything that I have necessarily won."
Going 5-for-5 in itself is impressive enough, but Graham was accurate on 48 and 49-yard tries against San Francisco, as well as a 53-yarder that carried through with plenty of distance Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Couple those performances with his accuracy during what head coach Gary Kubiak termed "a heck of a camp" by Graham, and the Texans head coach likes what he has in the veteran.
"I've got a lot of confidence in him," Kubiak said. "I think he's earned his keep around here."
Graham kicked in three games last season, two with Miami and one with Baltimore, and was a combined 6-of-7. In 2010, Graham kicked in nine regular season games and a playoff game with the Patriots, and was perfect on all 14 of those attempts. Despite that accuracy, he wasn't able to stick with any of those teams.
"Well, it just goes to show what the reality is, and that anything can happen," Graham said. "There's no reason to ever get secure, whether you're told you're the rostered kicker or you sign a multimillion dollar deal, it doesn't matter; you can still be let go at any time."
At 34 years of age, Graham said physically he's "as strong" as he's ever been. His 95-percent accuracy rate (20-of-21) over the past two regular and postseasons is the best mark in the NFL for any kicker with two or more attempts during that span But given his recent history of playing for multiple teams, Graham reiterated that he's not complacent now that Bullock is out of the picture for the 2012 season.
"It doesn't matter what kick you line up for, everything you have to focus, and you can always take everything for granted, so I don't believe in anything being easier, but treating it all the same."
Graham said he'll approach Thursday night's contest against the Vikings with the same focus as he's had the last three preseason games, and every kick in camp.