30 Questions With the Panthers' Specialists

Panthers kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and long snapper J.J. Jansen are in their third season together, but their three-way bond makes it seem like they've been around each other a lot longer.

Panthers kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and long snapper J.J. Jansen are in their third season together, but the three-way bond makes it seem like they've been around each other a lot longer. 

It's common for specialists to form a connection inside NFL locker rooms, yet the Carolina trio isn't just close within their circle. They appear to have a unique connection with the fan base as well.

Through social media, Gano, Nortman and Jansen have shared moments like their weekly ice cream contests from inside the team hotel. And this week, they even had a sandwich named after them.

Nortman was profiled in the October issue of Charlotte Magazine, but below you'll learn more about him and the other two members of Carolina's #BombSquad.

We asked the Panthers' specialists 10 questions about themselves and each other.  


GRAHAM GANO

Q: Could you be a long snapper or a punter?

A: A punter. I can’t do what J.J. does. That’s pretty impressive what he does, and how consistently he does it.

Q: Which other position could Brad play?

A: Brad was a linebacker in high school. I think he was all-state, too. 

Q: Which other position could J.J. play?

A: Tight end. He’s pretty athletic. Most people don’t see that. 

Q: What's your most memorable ice cream contest moment?

A: The best one we ever had was when we were playing the Steelers in the preseason. Brad had awesome puns that game. I think he called it ‘Puns of Steel.’ Mine’s always pretty normal. I just have vanilla and some fruit on top. It’s pretty plain. 

Q: What annoys you the most about J.J.?

A: He always takes the last bit of coffee in the coffee pot. 

Q: What's your favorite thing about J.J.?

A: He’s the best snapper in the NFL.

Q: What annoys you the most about Brad?

A: He's has Wisconsin football on every Saturday.

Q: What's your favorite thing about Brad?

A: He’s extremely encouraging, and he’s an awesome holder. 

Q: What’s the one thing you want to do on the field that you haven’t done yet?

A: I’d love to scoop and score on a kickoff for a touchdown. The ball pops out. Then I’d scoop it up and score. I wouldn’t have a touchdown celebration because I can’t dance.

Q: What's your favorite #BombSquad memory?

A: Probably the biggest kick we’ve had was the 53-yarder in San Francisco last year. It was in really tough conditions, lots of wind, and they did a perfect job on snap-hold. I was able to make the kick, and it made up being the difference in the game. 


BRAD NORTMAN

Q: Could you be a kicker or a long snapper?

A: I’d probably be better as a kicker. A few more transferable skills.

Q: Which other position can J.J. play?

A: He may not tell you this, but he can play quarterback. He thinks he can play quarterback. He slings it, and I think he likes that role. I think he’d like to have that kind of control of the offense. 

Q: Which other position can Graham play?

A: He could play receiver. He’s really fast, and he will talk about that. No one’s catching Graham. 

Q: What's your most memorable ice cream contest moment?

A: Preseason in Pittsburgh, we did a little deal where I was fake-playing the piano. It was just showmanship at its best. It’s not about the ice cream; it’s about the aesthetic we create. 

Q: What annoys you the most about Graham?

A: Being late. He loses track of time, but he has gotten better at it lately. 

Q: What's your favorite thing about Graham?

A: He's really clever. His next career is as a marketing professional. The way he uses words and puns, he’s hilarious.

Q: What annoys you the most about J.J.?

A: Sometimes he uses 10 words when three would do.

Q: What's your favorite thing about J.J.?

A: His wisdom. He knows a lot about a lot of different subjects. He’s really smart. 

Q: What’s the one thing you want to do on the field that you haven’t done yet?

A: Fake run for a touchdown. 

Q: What's your favorite #BombSquad memory

A: Last year in Atlanta – we won the division, we were going to the playoffs, and we all took a moment to celebrate the years that we had. Graham had a record-setting year, I had a great year, and J.J. was just spot on all year. I remember that scene so clearly, and to celebrate with those guys and enjoy it, it was awesome. 


J.J. JANSEN

Q: Could you be a kicker or a punter?

A: I couldn’t be either one, but I’d have a better chance being a punter. I feel like I’ve been able to pick out enough of the nuances that, if given a little bit of time, I could kind of fake it. 

Q: Which other position could Graham play?

A: A punter, an NFL punter, like a legit NFL punter. If he weren't a specialist, I could see Graham being a corner or defensive back. He’s fast, and he’s quick. 

Q: Which other position could Brad play?

A: Brad has told us many times that he was an all-state middle linebacker. So just for the pure enjoyment, I want to see him play linebacker. That being said, I think you could probably trust Brad as a slot receiver.

Q: What's your most memorable ice cream contest moment?

A: It’s the same performance every week: Two scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, crushed nuts, and chocolate chips in a cup. 

Q: Most annoying thing about Graham?

A: He talks in some of the weirdest voices, sometimes you don’t know what words he’s trying to say because he’s using a weird voice. It’s actually one of my favorite things about him, too.

Q: What’s the one thing you want to do on the field that you haven’t done yet?

A: I’d like to score a touchdown. I don’t know how that would happen. 

Q: What's your favorite #BombSquad memory?

A: San Francisco and Atlanta are at the top, but what we just did in Cincinnati was one of my proudest moments. We had two walk-off-the-field kicks and hit them both. They didn’t have the same excitement as San Francisco and Atlanta did, but just looking back on it, we were able to do it twice in a game. That was a lot of fun. 

Categories: Black and Blue Review 2, Panthers