Growing with Pressure

aguayo-sign“And with the 59th pick in the 2nd round of the 2016 Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected: Roberto Aguayo, Kicker from Florida State University.” Although what many perceived as a head scratcher, trading with the Kansas City Chiefs to make a splash, Jason Licht grabs Roberto in a dramatic surprise to everyone, but not to those in the Tampa Bay war room.
 Aguayo played 3 years with Florida State, connecting 69 of 78 field goals, and successful on all of his 198 extra point attempts. He left college as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history.
Last year the Buccaneers were 30th in the League with a 72.5 kicking percentage, making 29 out of 40 attempts. At this point, Aguayo has shown signs of being a bust, as well as promise. During his preseason, he was down and up, to say the least. In his pro debut against the Eagles this Preseason, he clanked the upright on an extra point and made one field goal. Moving on to Jacksonville, Aguayo was 2 out of 4 in field goals, but number 19 tightened up against The Browns hitting  3 for 3. After a much publicized embarrassing week of joint practices that made the national sports wire.
Finishing preseason play on top, in a mop up game, with the Redskins, he nailed a 50 yarder in horrible weather conditions. A difficult task for any kicker, let alone a struggling rookie. Okay, the pressure is released, right.?
temp160820_bucs_jags_web_0043-nfl_mezz_1280_1024-645x356Against Atlanta,  at the start the regular season, he connected on a 43 yard FG  and connected on 4  of 4 in extra points. He seems to be improving. However, his struggles continued against Arizona.
At home against the Los Angeles Rams, he continued his struggles even further as he missed a 41 yarder, and an extra point. If he would have made these conversations then likely it would have made that weather delay, a happy one.  Against the Denver Broncos, he was never asked to attempt any field goals and the only time he was on the field was to kick for an extra point, which he had made.
During the Monday Night game against the Carolina Panthers, Aguayo’s season was pretty much summed up. He missed 2 field goals out of 5 attempts but managed to win the game with a clutch field goal. Many assumed that it too would be a miss.
iAlthough Tampa flat out manhandled the San Francisco 49ers in a blowout win,  Aguayo was called upon to attempt more field goals, at which point was only to further extend the lead. He connected on 2 of 3 tries and missed 1 extra point attempt. He did connect on 2 of 3 attempts on field goals, but to go along with that one missed field goal was an extra point attempt. The fact that Tampa was beating the snot out of the 49ers, Aguayo’s misses were not necessarily cared for, but they did not go unnoticed. The boiling pot of frustration with Aguayo is still growing and at some point will turn into a Maelstrom.
 Aguayo has more to prove than any kicker drafted, mainly because of how and where he was drafted. In this league, if you are selected that high, and do not automatically live up to your hype. You are automatically dismissed by the fans and sought after by an ever growing hate faction.
 Unless Roberto starts making a majority of his assignments, kickers will start being invited to One Buc Place and soon. If that were to happen Aguayo would likely remain on the team as he has been outstanding on kickoffs. But if Aguayo learns to thrive under pressure he should be able to rise over his struggles and as many of us know, over time extreme pressure can result in a diamond.