Among the many questions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have this offseason, what to do at kicker seems to have fallen through the cracks.
Of course, most folks are busy burying the Bucs before their body is even cold — or they’ve been pronounced dead. A lot of the national anti-Buccaneers agenda stems from what’s happening at quarterback, which has dominated offseason conversation surrounding the team.
In the wake of Tom Brady retiring, the Bucs signed Baker Mayfield and have been dealing with the optical fallout ever since. It’s incredibly unfair and shortsighted to judge the move before it even has a chance to play out, but to expect otherwise is to expect the internet to change into a place where trolls aren’t featsting on every bit of low hanging fruit.
All of this is to say, when the Bucs come up in conversation the talk is centered on the quarterback sitaution and nothing else. That’s how the battle to see who will be the team’s starting kicker has gotten lost in the sauce.
Tampa Bay moved on from veteran Ryan Succop this offseason as part of wide spread cost-cutting to get rid of a $55 million salary cap challenge. Getting rid of that bill meant making tough decisions on players like Succop but it also presents an opportunity for others to step up and have an impact.
One of those guys isn’t technically on the team yet, but he already feels like a potential fan favorite if he can win the job.
Buccaneers invite Rodrigo Blankenship to minicamp for tryout
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bucs will have former Georgia Bulldogs star kicker Rodrigo Blankenship at minicamp with a chance to earn the team’s starting kicking role.
Blakenship’s name might not ring a bell right away, but his specs might do the trick. He won over the hearts of Georgia fans during his time with the Bulldogs, not only for being known to wear his thick-rimmed glasses during games but because of his ability to be one of the nation’s more notable kickers.
That’s the sweet spot, and it fits right in with the Buccaneers building a new identity post-Brady.
Like the Hanson brothers, Blankenship has been fighting his way through the league ever since he arrived back in 2020. While he’s someone fans have kept an eye on, it’s been a rough ride for Blankenship who is now with his fourth team in as many years. His longest stint was with the Colts, but he was waived last season after missing a game-winning kick in overtime against the Texans.
After trying out with the Jaguars, Blankenship landed with the Cardinals where he hit 80 percent of his kicks from 50 yards or longer. His career accuracy rate is around 83 percent, but he’s failed to be consistent in the clutch.
That could be what holds him back from earning the gig in Tampa Bay, which seems to already have a clubhouse leader in Chase McLaughlin. For what it’s worth, McLaughlin is who replaced Blankenship when the Colts released him, but both now find themselves with the Bucs in a potential battle for the starting role.