One day after the Buccaneers first preseason game against the Bengals where kicker Roberto Aguayo went 0-1 in field goals missing a 47 yarder and missed his only extra point attempt, the Buccaneers decided that the training camp kicking competition was over.
Being drafted to the team in the second round of the 2016 draft in a trade up with the Chiefs, which was highly scrutinized by the national media at the time, Buccaneers GM Jason Licht thought he had his team’s kicking problems fixed when he drafted Aguayo.
In reality, in his rookie season, as we Buccaneers fans all know, Aguayo struggled mightily only connecting on 71% of his field goal attempts and missing nine field goals from 30 yards and beyond while also missing two extra points, costing the Buccaneers a total of 29 points.
During the off season Aguayo was warned by both Coach Koetter and GM Licht that improvement needed to be made or changes would occur, so the Buccaneers signed ten year veteran kicker Nick Folk to give Aguayo some much needed competition.
Folk came to the team after being with the Jets last season were he made 87.1% of his field goals and has a career percentage of 81.3%.
Folk and Aguayo had quite the battle going during training camp with both doing pretty well, but practice is much different than in game action.
Ladies and gentlemen, second round pick Roberto Aguayo!
It's (another) missed extra point. pic.twitter.com/isDAKeStrF
— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) August 12, 2017
On Saturday night when the Buccaneers played their first preseason game against Cincinnat, Aguayo got the start. His first chance to prove that his kicking woes are behind him in the first quarter he hits from 20 yards, but then in the second quarter missed an extra point.
Folk comes in during the third quarter and hits from 45 yards, then Aguayo comes back in towards the end of the fourth quarter and misses from 47 yards out and Coach Koetter and GM Licht had seen enough.
On August 12th, Coach Koetter and GM Licht made the difficult decision to cut a second round pick, who should not have been a second round pick, and they waived Roberto Aguayo.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have waived kicker Roberto Aguayo.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) August 12, 2017
It was pretty obvious Koetter and Licht had seen enough from what was said during his next day presser explaining the decision to cut Aguayo:
“Well, we saw what that movie was like last year, “We’re just not going to go that direction anymore. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to ever miss a field goal again or miss an extra point again just like your offensive linemen are going to miss blocks, your quarterbacks are going to miss open receivers and you are going to miss tackles that’s part of the game. I think it’s safe to say we have just seen enough in our time here on these fields out here and the other fields that we’ve played that on right now we feel like we need to move toward a more consistent performance in that area.”
“You never feel good when you shatter someone’s dream, that is always tough, especially someone you had such high hopes for. You don’t have good feelings about that. It is a little bit of a sense of, I don’t want to say relief, but we’ve ripped off the band-aid, and we move on. We’re moving forward.”
The next step is where do the Buccaneers go at kicker from here? Is 32 year old, 10 year veteran Nick Folk the permanent guy this season, or does newly signed 25 year old Zack Hocker have a long-term future?
Hocker only played in eight total games last season between the Saints and the Rams, making 10 of 14 field goals for a career percentage of 71.4%, or basically what Aguayo made, so it’s safe to say he isn’t the answer.
Do they pick up former Buccaneer Patrick Murray, who was recently cut by the Chargers, do they trade for a kicker or sign a free agent, or are they just content on keeping Folk this season?
My guess is that they hope Folk can make it through an entire season without any injuries or kicking woes. After next season they will again be looking for a new kicker, but I doubt that they will be drafting one in the second round, or maybe at all ever again.
— Chicago Sports News (@ChiSportUpdates) August 16, 2017
All of you Roberto fans, don’t fret as most of you know by now he has alaredy been given a second chance after being claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears as he reunites with Mike Glennon, whom the Buccaneers play in week 2 of this season.
Feel free to tell me what you think the Buccaneers will be doing with their kicking situation, or how you think Nick Folk will work out in the comment section or tweet me directly on twitter @ND1Bucsfan, and I hope you enjoy my second article on @Breaking_FB and always remember to #SiegetheDay….