With His Preseason Struggles, Is It Time To Be Concerned About Roberto Aguayo?
By Ed Greene
I like to think of myself as an optimist, yet at the same time, anyone that knows me (they know who they are) knows that above all else I’m a realist. There were quite a few bright spots from this past Saturday’s game against Jacksonville, primarily on defense. However, along with standout plays and players, I find myself zeroing in on rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo. You remember him, the guy that the Buccaneers just had to get, trading with Kansas City to pick him in the second round (their third overall pick). Of course you remember him, and I’m sure you remember that this writer (along with a number of the fanbase) questioned what the front office was thinking in selecting a kicker so high up the draft, especially when there were other dire needs to address.
To say that Aguayo has been hit-and-miss so far in the preseason would be an understatement. Now don’t go into panic mode on me, Pewter Nation, at least not just yet. In their first game against Philadelphia, he was 1-1 for field goals, and missed his only extra point attempt. This was followed by last Saturday night, in which he went 2-4 in field goals and made all three PAT attempts. Out of his six total field goal tries, his three misses were from distances of 30 yards or more. But according to site’s such as Deadspin.com, Aguayo was the most accurate kicker in college football history (96.73% of converted attempts). Couple this with never missing an extra point in his entire collegiate career at Florida State.
My take is that there’s a chance that Roberto is a bundle of nerves for a couple of reasons. First, his reputation in college preceded him in the draft. Follow this up with (I’m sounding like a broken record here) being picked so high in an NFL draft, which ultimately meant that Tampa Bay was putting all their faith in him. This was confirmed right after predecessor Connor Barth was released after the Buccaneers picked Aguayo. The bright lights can be intimidating, as well as heavy expectations, and the kicker is supposed to be an ace in the hole to get much needed points.
I’ll reiterate that its not time to panic just yet, but there is a cause for concern. The Bucs have two more preseason games to go before the real test begins. If they can’t find a way to have Aguayo return to college form, there will be even more pressure on the rest of the team to get those key points.
Jameis Winston ???? Russell Shepard.
— NFL (@NFL) August 11, 2016
By: Anthony Pugliese
Being a kicker who was drafted in the second round, and is the most accurate kicker in college football history, established high expectations among the fanbase. Expectations are not just high on Roberto Aguayo, they are unrealistic. There is plenty of talk about that Roberto Aguayo wasn’t delivered as advertised. Yes, he missed an extra point attempt in his debut, then followed it up by missing two field goals last week, but beginning to lose confidence in the rookie now is not necessary.
There is no reason to be concerned just yet. This is coming from someone who was a believer the Bucs reached to draft Aguayo in the second round. Obviously not in the spotlight like a skilled positional player, there is a transition phase switching from college ball to the NFL. The most obvious difference being the ball is different. There is also a rust factor, getting back onto a field and attempting field goals against a live defense when you haven’t been in a game situation since December 31st.
Don’t misconscrew this reasoning as an excuse. Aguayo will be the first one to tell you he should have made those kicks. Luckily for the Bucs, the preseason is the perfect place to shake off rust, work through issues, and prepare for the upcoming season. This point was reiterated by Aguayo himself,
“It shouldn’t happen with me. You just have to fix it and keep moving on. I feel like that’s what preseason games were made for, to get the young guys rolling in, to keep working, keep getting better.” said Aguayo via ESPN.com
According to Roy Cummings, Aguayo has reached out to a kicking coach and mental coach. This is a move that seems to be making people feel like he is failing. I see it the complete opposite way. I think it is extremely admirable that Aguayo, knowing that the Bucs and it’s fan base both have high expectations for him, chose to seek outside help instead of rolling over after two bad preseason games. Knowing when to seek help when needed is a true sign of a winner.
Roberto has done nothing but work hard since he came to Tampa, and if his work ethic is any indication, there is no reason to be concerned about Roberto Aguayo.
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