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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Ivan Lambert

Commanders season opener in 4 days: Washington’s best No. 4

Commanders Wire continues a countdown to Washington’s season opener for 2023 in 4 days. Who was the team’s best player wearing No. 4?

Speaking of No. 4, current receiver Curtis Samuel has switched back to No. 4 he wore at Ohio State.

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Taylor Heinicke (2020-22) was a great story that resulted in so many pulling for Heinicke. He was an emergency Covid quarterback. But because Dwayne Haskins was released and Alex Smith’s leg broke down, Heinicke was called upon and had his most exciting game in a playoff game against Tampa Bay to conclude 2020. In his three Washington seasons, he was 12-11-1, passing for 33 touchdowns and 21 interceptions.

Plenty of guys kicking the ball have worn No. 4 for Washington. Jess Atkinson came aboard and closed out 1986 but was badly injured in the 1987 opener, missing out on the rest of the Super Bowl championship season.

Bryan Barker (2001-03) and Derrick Frost (2005-07) carried the punting duties.  Glen Pakulak (2009) and Sam Paulescu (2009) both punted the same season, taking their turns wearing No.4.

Likewise, Kriss Heppner and Michael Husted did the same in the 2000 season with the kicking duties and the jersey No. 4.

Graham Gano (2009-11) exhibited a huge leg booming kicks in his three seasons. However, Gano made only 9 of 16 field goals from 30-39 yards. A second opportunity saw Gano much more stable as he was one of the NFL’s better kickers while at Carolina for the next seven seasons.

Mike Bragg (1968-79) was drafted 117th overall by Washington in the 1968 draft. The former Richmond Spider punted 12 seasons for Washington averaging 39.9 yards. In his last season with Washington, he connected on the NFL’s longest punt of the season, 74 yards. In 1974, kicker Mark Moseley pulled a muscle, forcing Bragg into the kicking duties in a playoff loss to the Rams. He connected on his one field goal attempt.

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