There have been a few kickers through here since Matt Bryant’s last year in 2008:
Mike Nugent, Nick Folk, Kyle Brindza, Connor Barth, Rian Lindell, Patrick Murray, Roberto Aguayo, Chandler Catanzaro, Cairo Santos, and Matt Gay(R), and I probably left out one or two! In the 11-years since Matt Bryant walked out the door, there have been no less than 10 Kickers with a locker on Dale Mabry. If you consider that Connor Barth was the steadiest during that span, playing for 5 years, it boils down to at least 9 kickers in 6 years, all attempting to become the fix at Kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A much under-appreciated, and undervalued, less glamorous position indeed!
To say that the kicker position is not appreciated by most team’s fanbase, that is like saying that the Hulk has a wee bit of an anger issue. If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that Jason Licht not too long ago traded back into the 2nd round of the NFL Draft, in order to draft, yeah, you know the tale, a Damn “Idiot Kicker”. Not just any idiot though, a very, very, special idiot. The most accurate Idiot Kicker in Division One, College Football History! When you consider how many games are won and lost because of special Idiots kicking the pigskin. You come to know, that they are very important. So Licht dealing to a spot where he could take Roberto Aguayo in the 2nd round makes more sense. The Seminole was as close to a can’t miss for the position as there ever had been. A funny thing happened on the road to Field Goal Bliss, Aguayo couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if his life depended on it. What had happened since college to the Golden Leg? I must add at this point that taking Aguayo, that high was a gutsy move. If the young record-setting kicker comes through and had been all he was advertised to be, Licht would have been considered a bit of a genius. Aguayo flamed out early, and often, and then he got worse. He was released in just his second year which made Licht look like a fool, becoming the brunt of many a foul joke.
Which brings us to today, and our latest draft, and yet another kicker.
Having had some success last year, Santos was resigned for 2019, then Licht went out and damn it all, drafted another kicker, Matt Gay in the 5th round. The 5th isn’t the 2nd, In my opinion, though he probably could have just signed the guy as a UDFA, as most teams do with Kickers. This isn’t a knock on Matt Gay, he’s supposed to be a very good player at the position, with a gift for kicking it a long distance. So if he works out, again, people won’t give it a second thought. If he is another Bust at Kicker, well you know the deal, and how well that will go over with the fanbase.
Just kicking a few tires is all
Remembering how much importance Mr. Licht places on the Kicker position it’s easy to understand that he drafted Matt Gay as an upgrade to Santos, or if nothing else, to be strong competition for the second season signee. Either way, I’m guessing that Licht feels like one of those two will enter the Regular Season as the undisputed Bucs Idiot.
It all boils down to simply kicking a few tires to bring about the elimination of that bad feeling in the pit of his stomach every time a field goal, or extra point is attempted. It’s not that much to ask, but for the Bucs, it’s been hard to accomplish. Here’s hoping we can love our idiot again, it’s been a good while.