Tristan Wirfs at kicker? The Buccaneers shouldn’t rule it out.
The Buccaneers are playing their final preseason game of the year this Saturday against the Houston Texans. This is another game that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but it is the last chance for the Bucs to get some reps for their starters.
It appears that the starting offense and defense will get their fair share of reps, presumably in the first half, but the special teams unit will be down one player.
Starting kicker Ryan Succop is slated to miss the final game due to COVID-related reasons, and the only other kicker on the roster right now is Jose Borregales. In Succop’s absence, the Bucs could let Borregales take over the kicking duties, but that actually hurts Tampa in the long run.
At this point, Succop is the starting kicker for the Buccaneers. Even after a rough start to camp, enough hasn’t happened to unseat Succop yet, but there are questions about his game now. Borregales has played well and started the conversation about his ability to serve as a reliable kicker in the NFL, but he isn’t going to get the starting job just yet.
So, the Bucs can start Borregales on Saturday, but they will then risk losing him off their practice squad if he performs anywhere close to what his potential is. Field goals from distance, consistent kicks from up close, and even warming up well could put him on the radar of several teams across the league, which means the best option for the Buccaneers is to sit on their new kicker and hope he doesn’t clear waivers.
It may seem weird, but winning this game does not matter one iota. The job, for now, is keeping the team in the best position in the future, and losing Borregales because the Buccaneers let him show off in the preseason is not the best position.
Even if the Bucs lose the game after missing ten PATs, the benefit of a win this early does not offset failing to keep a player like Borregales within reach when Succop is starting to cause some questions.
Bradley Pinion can take care of kickoffs, so the special teams unit still gets quality reps, but the Bucs might as well let anyone who volunteers kick a field goal rather than wasting Borregales, and who would be better than Tristan Wirfs?
We all know how strong the young tackle is, and based on his awe-inspiring leg strength, he might be able to get the ball deep down the field.
It’s the preseason; who cares? The Buccaneers don’t have to win; they just have to get better and keep their players protected. The Bucs have to keep Borregales on their practice squad to protect themselves, and that may mean hiding him on their bench this weekend.
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