In the NFL, there are several things that go into winning each Sunday, Monday, and Thursdays. The one thing that can easily be overlooked is the kicking game. The kickers have one of the toughest jobs in the NFL because they are expected to make everything, but the only time they are noticed is when they miss. This has been a constant for the Buccaneers over the last several years. They have lost many games due to insufficient kickers.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay traded up and was now on the clock in the 2nd round. They quickly called in their pick and the commissioner walked to the podium to announce that they had selected Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo. I know what you are thinking; Why take a kicker in the 2nd round? Well, the answer is easy, Aguayo was the most consistent kicker in the history of college football and the Buccaneers needed a franchise kicker. Needless to say, it failed miserably and Aguayo is now clinging to a career with the Chargers.
The Buccaneers have been shuffling kickers over the past several years,(Connor Barth/ Patrick Murray, Kyle Brindza, Aguayo, Nick Folk, and Murray again), and now veteran Chandler Catanzaro will get his chance.
Catanzaro, who is entering his fifth season in the NFL, had played with the Jets and Cardinals, during his four-year career Catanzaro and has connected on 103 of his 122 field goal attempts. That makes him 84% thus far in his career. He has also connected on 152 of 161 extra points, making Catanzaro pretty reliable, during his tenure in the NFL.
The Buccaneers will be thrilled if he goes over the 90% range for field goals/extra points this year. He might just be the best kicker the Bucs have had on the roster over the past 3 seasons. Could Catanzaro be one of the key missing pieces that helps get Tampa Bay to the playoffs? I’d think so. If there would have been any consistency in the kicking game over the past two seasons, then maybe we could have seen our Bucs in the playoffs. But, there wasn’t any, so we didn’t make it.
Kicking is one of the fundamental parts of football that can win, or lose a game, and we haven’t had a significantly consistent kicker in quite some time, so the Buccaneers are forced to continue their pursuit of that elusive franchise kicker. However, maybe Catanzaro will walk the bridge to the future and end our search for a kicker. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be wasting anymore 2nd round picks on kickers in the future.
Let’s have faith that this will be the year our kicker actually converts the extra points/ field goals.