TAMPA – A lot of Buccaneers fans are probably still praising the team’s decision to let go of beleaguered kicker Roberto Aguayo, but it’s already worth asking if maybe they weren’t a bit hasty in doing so.
Granted, the Bucs wanted to have their kicking situation solved sooner rather than later, and Aguayo’s incredible lack of consistency helped justify their decision to decide it as soon as they did.
But if the best the Bucs can do in terms of bringing in someone to bail them out should Nick Folk go down is sign a guy like Zach Hocker, they probably would have been better off just keeping Aguayo.
A seventh-round pick (228th overall), of the Redskins in 2014, Hocker has bounced between five different NFL teams since he first came to the league and one quick look at his work tells you why.
Like Aguayo, who ranked last in the league in field goal percentage (70.9) after making just 22 of 31 of his tries last year, Hocker has a bit of an issue sticking the ball between the uprights.
In eight career games, he’s hit on just 10 of 14 field goal tries (71.4-percent) and 12 of 13 extra points. And there’s nothing in his background to suggest that’s going to change.
Hocker played his college ball at Arkansas, where he made good on just 77.2-percent of his 79 career field goals even after hitting on 13 of 15 as a senior and 16 of 19 as a freshman.
Aguayo, on the other hand, came out of college as the most accurate kicker in NCAA history after making 69 of his 78 field-goals tries (88.5-percent) and all 198 of his extra points.
That alone would seem to warrant perhaps just a little more patience, especially when you consider that the Bucs don’t really need to make a call on this until just before the season starts.
It’s obvious, though, that someone in authority at One Buc Place had just had enough of Aguayo, and that’s understandable but it doesn’t necessarily solve the team’s kicking issue.
Remember, it was only last week that it seemed as if Aguayo might be inching ahead of challenger Nick Folk in the battle for the kicker’s job because Folk was proving to be just as inconsistent as Aguayo.
That may have been what prompted general manager Jason Licht to suggest that the Bucs kicker for the 2017 season may not yet be on the roster just yet, and that may still hold true.
After all, there’s no doubt that Folk brings some experience to the position, but during his 10 years in the league, he’s had more years where his field goal percentage was below the league average than not.
And it’s not like the Bucs made the situation a whole lot better by dumping Aguayo and replacing him with Hocker.