To say the Bucs have had field goal kicking issues over the past nine seasons would be a massive understatement. In fact, since cutting Matt Bryant after the 2008 season, the Bucs have had Shane Andrus, Mike Nugent, Kyle Brindza, Connor Barth, Rian Lindell, Patrick Murray, Roberto Aguayo (the pain is still too fresh) and Nick Folk handling kicking duties. Going through eight kickers in nine seasons has been the cause of great anxiety amongst Bucs fans.
Enter Chandler Catanzaro to save the day.
The Bucs signed the former New York Jet and gave him a three-year contract worth $9.75-million, with $3.2-million guaranteed. The guaranteed part is crucial as it basically solidifies Catanzaro as the starter for the 2018 season. Why is that important? Because for all intents and purposes, it makes what happens in training camp kind of pointless.
Great day for the kickers. Both Chandler Catanzaro and rookie Trevor Moore went 6-for-6 in the FG drill, first 5 ranging from 35-45 yards, then hurrying for a final “mayday” kick from 29.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) July 31, 2018
Don’t get me wrong, practice is important, but it doesn’t really matter until the games start. Nick Folk out-kicked Roberto Aguayo in training camp, went 6-for-7 (85%) in the preseason, and then proceeded to go a disastrous 6-for-11 (54%) in four games to start the season.
Real game pressure matters in evaluating kickers. The B ucs will be relying on Catanzaro to continue kicking at his career average of 84% in order to feel confident in him heading into the 2019 season. I do have a note of concern regarding Catanzaro. His field goal percentage from 40-49 yards has decreased every year he’s been in the league. Since his rookie season he’s 13-for-13 from 40-49 yards inside a dome, but he’s only 21-for-30 (70%) from 40-49 yards in open air stadiums. The Bucs only play three games in domed stadiums this year. Gulp!
Why did they cut Matt Bryant again?