Posted on October 11, 2016, by Travis Pulver
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected former Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo with a second round pick, they thought they were picking a kicker that doesn’t miss. In his first two years of college, he missed just four kicks (48-52). However, in his final year of college, he missed five. That should have been enough to keep the Buccaneers from drafting him with anything other than a seventh round pick—but they used a second.
Five games into his first season in the NFL he has missed four–including two Monday night against the Carolina Panthers.
His issues with missing kicks got so bad during the preseason that the fans even started trolling him during practice, and they haven’t gotten much better during the regular season. While he didn’t do much to help his reputation Monday night (3-5), he made his teammates happy by making the one kick that mattered most—the last one.
After missing a 46-yard attempt (wide left), with 3:38 left in the game and the score tied at 14-14, you would think the team might have been a little leery about putting the game on the line with his foot. Jameis Winston wasn’t:
“After he missed the first one I went over to him, and I told him, ‘Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time situations.’ I said, ‘I’m going to get you this chance back if I don’t throw a touchdown,’ ” Winston said.
Of course, if Winston could have made a big-time play the game wouldn’t have come down to whether a kicker with no confidence could make a kick.
After a promising rookie season and nothing but good reports coming out of camp, many believed Winston could turn a corner this season and get the Bucs winning games again. Instead, he has appeared indecisive at times and has made some silly, stupid mistakes (like the fumble late in the second half that good high school quarterbacks don’t make let alone NFL quarterbacks).
At one point in the game, he had overthrown his receivers six times giving him 36 overthrown ball on the season (a league high). When asked about them, he has chalked his overthrows up to being too “amped up.” He says he’s trying too hard.
That may work for your high school and maybe your college coach during your freshman season—but after winning the Heisman as a college freshman, having another solid season in college, and with a full season in the NFL under your belt? As Chad Johnson would say: child, please.
To Winston’s credit, he did give Aguayo not just one chance at redemption, but two, and Aguayo did make the second one and win the game. But Winston had a little help setting Aguayo up with the opportunity from Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson.
Getting his first start since the 2014 season in place of a concussed Cam Newton, Anderson struggled for most of the night unless he was throwing to his tight end, Greg Olsen. Olsen had half of Anderson’s completions for 181 yards (Anderson was 18-28 for 278 yards (ESPN).
Anderson also had two interceptions on the night. One led to three points for Tampa Bay. The other came on first and goal at the one effectively killing Carolina’s last opportunity to score. After making the throw, which went right to Buccaneers defensive back Brent Grimes, Anderson appeared to stand there in disbelief—which was pretty much the feeling he left fans with.
Neither team looked particularly good throughout the game and almost appeared to be trying to help the other win. Carolina fans will point to the absence of Cam Newton, but the team hasn’t looked good with him either.
As for the Buccaneers, they expected Jameis Winston to improve in his second season, but so far that doesn’t appear to be the case. Head coach Dirk Koetter felt better about putting the game in the hands of his newly acquired running back, Jacquizz Rodgers, rather than his former No. 1 pick, Jameis Winston.
Carolina will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they travel to New Orleans to play the Saints. Tampa Bay will have a week off before traveling to San Francisco.