Bucs Prove Fool-Around Days Are Over

March 20th, 2017

BY IRA KAUFMAN

There’s a great scene near the end of “North Dallas Forty” when the John Matuszak character confronts an assistant coach in the locker room.

“Every time I call it a game, you call it a business, and every time I call it a business, you call it a game,” Matuszak screams as teammates look on in shock and admiration.

Roberto Aguayo just learned the business side of the game.

With the signing of veteran kicker Nick Folk, the Bucs just showed their growing fan base they aren’t fooling around.

This isn’t 2009, when Aguayo’s draft status would have ensured him another year on the roster. Remember, that was the year new GM Mark Dominik decided to hand receiver Michael Clayton a 5-year deal with $10.5 million in guaranteed money… despite Clayton’s four consecutive lousy seasons.

Those days are over. Finis. Adios.

Winning Vs. Rebuilding

The business of the Bucs right now is winning. That’s the cycle they’re in with a young, talented roster after a 9-7 finish that has Buc fans on the edge of their expensive club seats.

Tampa Bay was able to bring in compelling competition for Aguayo because the business of the Jets is rebuilding. New York just cut seven players to free up $46 million, with Folk being swept up in the purge.

“I get it,” Folk says of New York’s fire sale. “At the end of the day this is a business and sometimes you’re on the wrong end of the business part of it. This was my second team, but there’s not too many guys who play for one or two teams anymore. Everybody moves around. It’ll be a fun new adventure.”

The fun starts in August, when every fan sweating at One Buc Place will keep a chart on Aguayo and Folk. Forget the battles at safety and center — splitting the uprights will be must-see theater.

Folk has a good track record, but we’re not talking about Adam Vinatieri here. He missed two extra points last season and the season opener against Cincinnati was a disaster. He shanked a PAT and had a chip-shot field goal blocked in a 23-22 loss at wind-swept MetLife Stadium.

The point is Aguayo will have every chance to atone for a dismal rookie season, when he made only 22-of-31 field goal attempts. Led by Jason Licht, the man who traded up to draft him, Buc management would be thrilled if Aguayo regains the dependable form he demonstrated at Florida State.

If both kickers perform about the same, Aguayo figures to get the nod when rosters are cut before the season opener. But he’s going to have to earn the trust of Dirk Koetter and the Glazers, who aren’t interested in taking a leap of faith on a struggling kicker.

“As far as the investment in Roberto and where we picked him, we were all on board with that and that’s not going to change,” Koetter says. “We’re never going to bring that back, that happened. And Roberto was our kicker and like any other player, if he’s got that Buc jersey on and he’s out there on game day, then I’m 100 percent in.

“With that said, our field goal percentage of this year is not good enough. Now, that’s not only stat that’s not good enough, but that wasn’t good enough. Jason and I have already talked and I think it’s already proven that we have no problem moving on from a draft choice. We’ve got to have competition at every position, nothing’s a given and if they’re not the best player than I can be pretty certain in saying that they won’t be out there.”

Full Fan Attention

If Folk looks like the better kicker, Licht will take a deep breath and acknowledge a draft-day mistake. He hasn’t made a lot of them and the Bucs have come a long way in his three years running football operations.

Koetter and his staff will shape the final roster, and that’s the way it should be. Even if Aguayo is released, Licht has built up enough capital with the Glazers to survive — if the Bucs continue to improve.

Aguayo didn’t miss any last-minute field goals in 2016 that cost the Bucs a victory, but he certainly didn’t inspire confidence. Folk brings experience and a career FG percentage of 81.3.

If Koetter schedules a special teams practice during training camp that is closed to the public, Buc fans might storm the gates. Aguayo vs. Folk is shaping up as a kick-ass fight to the finish.

It’s not personal, Roberto. It’s strictly business.

36 Responses to “Bucs Prove Fool-Around Days Are Over”

  1. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Yes, Spandau-Ballet lovin’ ex-GM Mark Dominik’s era is over, just like well…Spandau Ballet. Now, weapons for Winston, please!

  2. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    I doubt competition will be that exciting, and the reason why is Folk will blow Agauyo out of the water and the competition will be over before it begins, hell it might already be over and im okay with that

  3. CocoaBchBuc Says:

    Last day in Vegas before heading back to Florida. Wonder if I can find a betting line on this battle?

  4. Miko Says:

    I think they’ll keep both on the roster until the real bullets fly. if aguayo starts misfiring again…adios!

  5. K2 Says:

    Bucs have a great punter…now they are looking to cement the kicking position. I hope Aguayo can rebound from a terrible year. Last year, initial expectations went from he is never going to miss…to will he make any. Now he is going to asked to be better than the competition..that is a realistic expectation.

    The Bucs are a much stronger team. It will be more difficult to make the roster. In general, very few people will make the roster based on special teams play…although it is a huge plus. It will be great special teams play and quality depth. I think only about 4 draft picks will make the team from this year class. So, probably only 1 from rounds 4-7.

  6. BROCKTACULAR Says:

    ^^^^^^^^ Yeah… Like she said

  7. BROCKTACULAR Says:

    Miko that is…

  8. Tom Edrington Says:

    “You’re right, B.A., it is time to leave childish things behind……”

    Phil Elliot

  9. Buc4Lyfe79 Says:

    Honestly Ira, the Bucs can claim and you as well, that they’re not “fooling around” anymore, and are serious about competing this year, when they sign Mangold or trade for Kelce. Joe Hawley is the equivalent of rag doll getting beaten badly into the backfield, by any D-linemen 300pnds or more. Great guy doesn’t equal being able to keep the center of the pocket intact, especially a great guy with knee problems. Oh and by the way, Dontari Poe was out there looking for a one year prove it deal, which he got from Atl. (RIP Joe Hawley’s knees) A guy who was motivated to prove his worth and who would’ve allowed Clinton Mcdonald to play back-up 3 tec to GMC, while he played nose back-up or could’ve even surplanted Baker as starting nose. HOW COULD THAT 4 MAN INTERIOR ROTATION HAVE BEEN BAD? Also would’ve allowed Golston to stay at d-end while still having Ayers, Spence, & Smith as rotation and depth? I’ll say again, wake me when Licht shows the same common sense that Dan quinn showed last year in bringing in a center that actually fits the bill and will make a difference. Oh, wait, Pamphile can play center, right? Oh, and Marpet. @ guys that have never played the position before, not to mention F-ing up the chemistry they already have established at their respective positions they’re already playing and excelling at. WOW, what a great time to learn to play such a crucial and critical position as center, when the bullets are live and flying and you don’t have a shred of previous experience playing it….It’s STILL a Bucs life Ira. And the center of their o-line with Hawley is still a sieve.

  10. DBS Says:

    This guy is as full of crap as Lovie. Do you really think there is competition at every position? So who is going to compete with D JAX? How about Winston? And GMC? Try selling it to someone else.

  11. James Walker Says:

    This a win/win for Licht and Bucs fans. If AG wins out then wonderful. If Folk wins out then awesome. May the best kicker win.

  12. gotbbucs Says:

    I don’t need to see each of them kick to know which one is better. Roberto can’t kick from beyond 40 without sh!tting himself and then giving that ridiculous puzzled look when it doesn’t go through the uprights. Literally every kicker in the NFL right now is better than Augoyo, that is a fact.
    I can handle kickers missing kicks, just don’t stare at the goal post trying to figure out what went wrong. Jog your ass back to the sideline, take the mean mugging from the coach, and get the next one. Standing on the field and looking at the post let’s me know that you don’t have the confidence required for the position and that miss will still be in your head haunting you the next time they call you out on the field.

  13. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    K2

    Great observation!

  14. Stanglassman Says:

    If Folk’s disaster game was going 3/4 on Fg attempts (his chip shot kick was blocked) and missing his 1st extra point of his career sign me up.

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t get the Joe Hawley hate. He played injured most of last year, and that is why he got beat on the line. When he is healthy, he is great.

    You should be focusing on the RT spot, because that was the true weak spot all year long.

  16. SB Says:

    The Bucs have scheduled a workout with Toledo type in Michael Roberts. Kid had 16 touchdown catches last year

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    K2 kept it real. Well said!

  18. Chris Says:

    Yeah Ira, you left oit , new snapper, new holder and first PAT misses in ten years. Stop it with the Aguayo getting his act together. He was 4-8 on field goals of 40-49 his last year at FSU. This is a two year thing, not a rookie yip thing.

  19. Chris Says:

    Besides Ira, I remember at least one game, maybe more where his miss turned the momentum of a game around, that’s just about as bad as missing a kick at the end of a game.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “DBS Says:
    March 20th, 2017 at 2:06 pm
    This guy is as full of crap as Lovie. Do you really think there is competition at every position? So who is going to compete with D JAX? How about Winston? And GMC? Try selling it to someone el”

    I don’t get this rant (could say that for a lot of the negative nancies here daily in general actually lol).. Of course certain players are penciled in starters because they’ve proven themselves over and over again and there is an obvious drop off to the next best guy… that’s how every NFL team is…

    The point is that Light & Koetter will not pencil in a starter based on draft status or how much they are paid. It will be based on the best player who gives us the best chance to win. Hence why ASJ was cut despite being on his rookie 2nd round contract still for a guy like Cam Brate.. Hence why we just signed a vet kicker despite investing a 2nd rounder in a kicker last year. It’s not that complicated to understand and I view it as a positive thing

  21. Mike Johnson Says:

    Ira, Aguayo Will develop into an NFL kicker And he will be good. But he’s a slow burner. Meaning its gonna take this kid a couple more yrs. Kinda like that ole kicker from Oakland when he 1st came into the league. problems is, we can’t wait for Roberto to overcome his jitters and learning curves. I say he’s gone after trng camp. Probably for a 4th or 5th rounder. I like the kid. But I like winning games even more. The kids gonna crumble like a coffee cake under pressure. He’s history. Bucs are gearing up to make a run.

  22. DBS Says:

    @LC
    If you don’t get it then you must believe there is . Don’t tell the world something that is not true. Winston has none, Evens has none . Therefore his statement is false. They are not trying to find it for Winston!

  23. Buc1987 Says:

    Oh we’re excited alright Ira.

    North Dallas Forty…great book.

    The Franchise…really great book. Scary to think about, but good. Same author.

  24. tdtb2015 Says:

    @Mike Johnson- I’m not being a smart a$$ here. A kicker has learning curves?

    I’m with Miko….. If the competition is close in the pre-season Licht should keep them both for the first quarter of the season. Hopefully we have some quality divisional games then in addition to the Patriots. We need the first quarter of the season to be the real deal.

    Bucs vs. Patriots will probably be a Monday night game. Let this game be the last game of the first quarter. C’mon Aguayo kick some a$$$ and fire them cannons!!!

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    The overall point is that the Bucs- under Licht’s guidance – are much more willing to admit mistakes and move on from highly drafted players who don’t work out than they were just a few years ago when the popstar was in charge.

    Point well written and taken Ira.

  26. tdtb2015 Says:

    DallasBuc changed his alias to DBS….hillarious!!!

    That’s the way to go Dave!!! SMH

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    No more walking out of the room when Aguayo lines up for a kick anymore?

    No more covering my eyes?

    No more saying…please make it you son of a…?

    No more screaming the mutha effer missed it again?

    I’m not even rooting for the kid anymore. Bring on Folk!

  28. Chris Says:

    Ummm, no. No roster slot wasted on your state college kicker. If Folk does well, nails a few 50 yrders, makes every PAT, which 9 years of making every one is an indication, the job’s his. No wasting a spot on a kicker that was the worst in the NFL. By the way, doubtful anyone picks him up, as yes, the entire league knows hiw bad he is.

  29. Chris Says:

    On a diffeent note, I a Dalvin Cook fan.

  30. Kevin Says:

    Yesterday I said Aguayo is gone….but the more I think about it….how can a guy just become so bad out of nowhere???!!!!!

    The guy is a damn good kicker. I do find it hard to believe he will not remain a Buc. What happened to him?

    It’s going to really suck if he goes to another team and becomes the best kicker in the league. Were the laces in?

  31. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “DBS Says:
    March 20th, 2017 at 3:43 pm
    @LC
    If you don’t get it then you must believe there is . Don’t tell the world something that is not true. Winston has none, Evens has none . Therefore his statement is false. They are not trying to find it for Winston”

    Meh semantics man. Does it really need to be stated that “There will not be competition for the QB position this year”… It’s a waste of time to write that lol we all know what he meant

  32. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Rotoworld: The Browns hosted free agent SS Bradley McDougald.
    With Derrick Kindred and Ed Reynolds currently sitting atop the depth chart, the Browns need help at safety. They missed on Tony Jefferson in wave one of free agency. McDougald is a 26-year-old box safety with man-coverage experience against tight ends.

    At least he got out of there without a deal. I would think he’d rather resign than go to the Browns.

  33. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Lord Cornelius, IBS (more suiting) is a troll. I have yet to see a comment from him that is not sarcastic or insulting.

  34. Buccfan37 Says:

    87… I get that level of no more. I’d feel bad if he was a Gator.

  35. Eric Says:

    If the guy wasn’t a 2nd rounder he wouldn’t even be invited to camp, or anybody else’s. (Makes me puke just thinking about it)

    He stinks.

    The other guy is a polished pro. Why risk Robert costing us a critical game?

  36. Capt.Tim Says:

    If you arent gonna develop rookies- why draft them?
    Last highly drafted kicker sucked his first year. Coach begged the GM to let him cut the guy. .
    2 year. Guy played great. And has for many years since
    Coach was Jon Gruden
    Kicker was Sabastian Janokoski.
    Ever heard of him?

 

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