Had he also missed on what proved to be the game-winning field in the Buccaneers 17-14 win over the Panthers last Monday, rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo might be out on the street looking for work right now.
As it is the Bucs may be looking at the waiver wire and tape of kickers they’ve brought in for tryouts for a potential replacement, at least on field goals, should Aguayo’s struggles continue.
That said, there is one former NFL head coach with a Super Bowl on his resume who believes the 38-yard field Aguayo drilled down the middle to beat the Panthers and save not only his job but the Bucs season could prove to be a turning point in Aguayo’s career.
“I think that game-winning field goal might give him the confidence he needs going forward,’’ former Ravens coach Brian Billick said Thursday on Tampa radio station 620 WDAE. “Hopefully this will be a catalyst for him.
“For a young player like that, making a game-winning field goal can really increase his confidence. You know he has the physical skills. (The question is) can he keep the right mental framework. That’s why this could be a catalyst for him going forward.’’
Aguayo needs some sort of catalyst. One of two players selected by the Bucs in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he has made just four of eight field-goal tries this year while also missing an extra point.
And it’s not like he’s missing from long distances. After making 267 of the 276 field goals and PATs he attempted as a collegian, Aguayo has missed from 46, 45, 41 and 33 yards out as a pro so far.
Two of those misses came during the game last Monday, which is an indication the situation is only getting worse. But Billick says the Bucs need to ride out the rough seas on this investment.
“You’ve got to let a young player work out those kinks,’’ Billick said. “You’ve put a lot of resources into him and you’ve got to remember that he’s a rookie and just give him room to grow. But at the end of the day, he’s got one job to do and these make-able field goals have got to be made.’’