7 Game winning field goals.
Club Record (and NFL Record 2nd longest game winning too) longest FG of 62 yards.
3 of 3 kicking the day after burying his son.
These are a few items on the list of accomplishments of 5 year starter Matt Bryant, who without question is fighting harder for his job than he has since taking on and winning the position from Todd France back in 2005. The Bucs brought in Mike Nugent to compete against Bryant, when Nugent was made available by the NY Jets. NY fans, never ones to be happy with anything, were never satisfied with Nugent's career. He was drafted high, the 2nd round to be exact, and he did not miss a single kick in his rookie preseason. But in his first kick of the regular season, he didnt even come close to the bars! Jets fans never forgot it, and have been unhappy with Nugent ever since. This in spite of an 82% success rate over his career, the exact same as Matt Bryant who is well liked by Bay area fans. When Nugent injured his quadricep in the opening game of last year, Jets replaced him with Jay Feely who preformed very well, making the former Jets kicker expendable.
With both kickers having such similar career accuracy marks, you have to think the Bucs are looking towards the future as Bryant is all of 34 years old, with Nugent only 27 and having a stronger leg. The Morris/Dominik regime has gone the way of the young; and any group that can oust Derrick Brooks can take care of Matt Bryant. Bucs fans with deep feelings can rest easy...Matt Bryant is more than likely better than half a dozen kickers in the NFL. Among the teams #3 could find himself and the incumbant:
Washington - Shaun Suisham -72%
Denver- Matt Prater 74% (5 of 6 from over 50 however)
KC Nick Novak 60%
Buffalo Bian Lindel 79%
Green Bay Mason Crosby 79%
Jacksonville Josh Scobee 76%, (only 3 of 6 from 30-39)
Matt Bryant was solid 27 of 27 on kicks under 40 yards, but 0 for 3 for tries that were 50+.
Still, a player like Bryant would be missed. He didn't have those Martin Gramatica misses that looked like ball fours; low and outside. They were always close, maybe kissing of a crossbar or looking like they were going in and then curving out and surprising you. Ok, its not horseshoes, and near misses don't count, but it says something about his accuracy. Problem is teams are starting too far upfield on kickoffs, especially with such highly ranked kick coverage units like Tampa Bay has had lately.
It may seem unfair to some, but Matt Bryant is going to have to out and out beat Mike Nugent if he hopes to keep the Red and Pewter for his employee uniform.