Jason Licht deserves criticism for Buccaneers early struggles

Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /
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After Sunday’s brutal loss versus the New York Giants, here are several rational critiques, mostly aimed at Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht.

As soon as the football didn’t go between the uprights in Sunday’s game loss to the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht’s overall grade for the 2019 draft dropped a full letter grade. Licht reached for a kicker in the draft for the second time in his career, and while Matt Gay is not a bust, Licht should still be feeling a lion’s share of the heat for this loss on Sunday.

A kicker taken in the fifth round should be stone cold in a situation like the one that occurred. (Also, a kicker taken in the second round should not have flamed out after 2 years but I digress). For starters, let it be very clear that Matt Gay is not a bad kicker.

Kicking is one of the most stressful positions in the sport and has the highest likelihood of falling into a slump of any position. Once you miss one kick, it gets easier and easier to miss the subsequent ones.

Gay had missed several PAT’s at the start of the game and this allowed the pressure to build up until the last seconds of the game which placed a rookie in a situation that he was not prepared for and should not have been in in the first place. All this being said, Matt Gay should not have been drafted in the fifth round, especially considering the needs that the Buccaneers had both at offensive line (which we will get to shortly) and on defense throughout.

While kicking across the league has taken a dip in recent years, there would have been plenty of eligible candidates to choose from on the free agent market to find a kicker that had the leg strength and the experience to win last Sunday’s game for the Bucs. A word of advice to Jason Licht: if you are going to continue drafting kickers at least widen the goal posts at Raymond James.