Buccaneers’ fans are already turning on Roberto Aguayo, so he is looking for help any way he can find it.
It has not been easy going for the Buccaneers’ new kicker. Heck, that is probably putting it mildly. As a second round selection, there are a lot of expectations on the head of Roberto Aguayo. His reputation preceded him, and perfection was expected. Roberto has been anything but perfect, with missed field goals and extra points over the course of two preseason games.
The natives are starting to get restless.
In Tuesday’s practice session, Aguayo went 3-6 in his field goal attempts, and fans let him have it. According to Nunzio Ingrassia of FOX Sports, half of the fans were encouraging him, while the other half was heckling and booing pretty severely. Clearly, the Bucs’ faithful are getting impatient while they wait for the highly touted kicker to show his stuff.
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To his credit, Aguayo is working hard to get things right. He told Roy Cummings of WDAE Tampa that he has consulted with former kicker Ryan Longwell and former special teams’ coordinator Billy Miller. He has also consulted with a mental coach to assist with his shaken confidence.
Chris Wesseling of NFL.com wrote it best when he talks about the “kicking conundrum”. If a kicker loses confidence, even briefly, it often leads to a drop in fundamentals. When that happens, the kicker has the potential to fall apart entirely. To kick in the NFL, a player must be able to deliver under pressure, and when all of the eyes are on you, there is pressure.
Coach Koetter believes that the issue is mental, but he doesn’t believe the team will add a kicker to the roster as a safety valve:
"“That would be a question you would need to talk to [General Manager] Jason [Licht] about but, I wouldn’t think that’s an option, but that would be a question for Jason.”"
He went on to say that Aguayo is working through the problems.
Let’s give this young man a bit of a break. I understand that he is a high draft pick, and had a reputation for being perfect. It was still college, but no matter how big the school was, and Aguayo came from a big one, it’s not the NFL. The level of pressure is different. It’s only the preseason, and he is showing his dedication by seeking immediate help. Give him time, he will be OK.