Buccaneers kicking battle will be winner-takes-all affair

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – Good news for Buccaneers backup quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Griffin. Coach Dirk Koetter is not ruling out the possibility the Bucs might keep three quarterbacks on their roster this year.

The news is not so good for kickers Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk.

As he put the wraps on the Bucs three-day mandatory mini-camp on Thursday, Koetter made it clear that no matter how many quarterbacks he keeps, there is room for only one kicker on the roster.

That may seem rather obvious, but in cases where they’ve had one who is more adept at kicking off and another who is more adept at kicking field goals, teams have been known on occasion to keep more than one kicker.

The Bucs won’t, though, and as their offseason workout program came to a close at One Buc Place this week, it was still too early, Koetter noted, to suggest that one kicker might have the edge over the other.

“We obviously know the numbers and we’ve charted everything this spring, but we’re just going to keep that going,’’ Koetter said. “We’re just going to leave it as a competition for now.’’

The competition seems to be helping Aguayo. After missing nine of the 31 field goals he tried and ranking dead last in the league in field goal percentage (71.0) last year, Aguayo seems to be regaining his consistency.

Since the first round of OTAs, when he missed three of four against the skinny goalposts, Aguayo has matched Folk virtually kick for kick during the workouts that have been opened to the media.

That trend continued Thursday when Aguayo and Folk both hit the on 44- and 52-yard attempts they made in what was easily the most pressure-packed moment of the spring workout schedule.

“Yeah, we had a little contest there,’’ Koetter said. “We said that if they made four in row (between them) we would (end practice early), so that was great for those guys.’’

It was a good finish to the first round of what will easily be one of the most interesting battles of Bucs training camp. In more ways than one the heat will really be on then and the fact that it will be a winner-takes-all battle will only crank up the intensity.

 

 

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