TAMPA – When he finally gave up on Roberto Aguayo this past summer, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said quite simply that he’d “seen that movie before’’ and just didn’t want to have to see it again.
Well, he is seeing it again, and like most sequels, this one is proving to be worse. Much worse.
When Aguayo’s replacement, Nick Folk, missed three more field goal tries during the Bucs 19-14 loss to the Patriots on Thursday night it brought his total number of misses on the year to seven, including five field goals and two extra points.
That adds up to a total of 16 points that he’s left on the field this year. A year ago, Aguayo missed a total of 11 kicks all season, including nine field goals and two PATs for a total of 29 points left on the field.
Meanwhile, with his five misses – and they have been bad, dramatic misses – in 11 tries, Folk currently holds a field-goal percentage for the year of 54.5-percent.
That’s way worse than what the Bucs got out of Aguayo, who finished his first and so far only NFL season ranked last in the league in field-goal percentage last year, but still managed to hit on 71-percent of his kicks.
Now, there were times, particularly early on, when Aguayo was hitting the mark at an even worse rate than Folk is right now, but not even Aguayo missed five field goals and an extra point in a span of just five days.
That’s what Folk, who missed two field goal tries and an extra point before miraculously hitting the game winner in the Bucs 25-23 victory over the Giants last week has done.
“It’s been a bad week,’’ Folk admitted after missing tries of 31, 49 and 56 yards against the Patriots.
No one’s arguing that. What the Bucs need to determine, though, is whether this bad week will turn into a bad season the way it did for Aguayo. Not surprisingly, those conversations have already begun.
Koetter said late Thursday that he and general manager Dirk Koetter discussed the Folk situation immediately after the game but he didn’t say what, it any, conclusion might have been reached.
“That will be something that will be forthcoming,’’ Koetter said. “You don’t want to make any rash decisions.’’
Given the way he’s performed the last two weeks, it could hardly be considered a rash decision if the Bucs were simply to cut Folk loose right now. And they very well may.
The name of former Bucs kicker Patrick Murray has already been mentioned in conversations, and there are a few other candidates floating around that could get a look.
Koetter seems a bit conflicted, though, in part because it appears Folk has been solid in practice. He’s been so solid, in fact, that Koetter said this slump of his “came out of left field.’’
“There was no indication this was coming,’’ he added. “And we only kicked live one day (in practice) this week and Nick was lights out on that day. But these last two weeks, it’s not what we’re looking for.’’
No, it’s not and what’s interesting is that there were times last year when Aguayo was kicking fine in practice but simply couldn’t find his range in the games when it mattered most.
Oddly, that appears to be what has happening to Folk. The question is, having seen this movie before, do the Bucs continue watching the sequel in the hopes that it will get better or do they give up on it now?
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.