“Like It’s A Heavyweight Fight And You Got To Knock The Guy Out”

June 4th, 2019

The kicking battle never stops

Former Bucs Pro Bowl kicker Martín Gramática hung out with Cairo Santos last week and shared some impressions today.

After chatting it up with the batting Bucs returning kicker, Gramática said, “you get the feeling that he feels he has to kick way better than the rookie to win the job. … like it’s a heavyweight fight and you got to knock the guy out.”

Of course, the Gentleman Gerry Cooney of the bout is Bucs rookie Matt Gay, the kicker drafted in Round 5.

Gramática was talking to his WWBA-AM 820 audience and said he is concerned that Gay and Santos will be mentally fried from the kicking battle by opening day, and possibly physically worn. However, Gramática added he’s not too concerned about the physical end of things because both are young and they are not kicking off in practice. That duty goes to the Bucs’ new punter, Bradley Pinion, who Bruce Arians called the biggest signing of the offseason.

So what if they were kicking off? Gramática explained that the warmup required for the kickoff is completely draining and more taxing on the leg. He said a lot of times guys in a battle won’t rest when they are sore and end up less than 100 percent for opening day.

Gramática believes rookie Gay is the one with the least pressure because the team will be more patient with him. And that led Gramática into a rant of disbelief for what happened to Roberto Aguayo and all the self-inflicted pressure he put on himself, in addition to inexplicably trying to change his kicking style when he got to the Bucs, per his recent quotes to Bleacher Report.

Joe thinks Gramática has a fair point about the downside of a kicking battle. A veteran kicker can just manage himself to be ready and healthy for opening day.

Of course, that didn’t apply last year when Chandler Catanzaro was the expensive new kicker of the year, only to be launched by midseason.

17 Responses to ““Like It’s A Heavyweight Fight And You Got To Knock The Guy Out””

  1. SCBucsFan Says:

    I just want someone to hit 40 yarders and not close my eyes when we kick. You look at the NFL and you see guys lining up from 55 like they are kicking extra points and I don’t think Santos has that range but Gay does; while I know Arians loves Pinion I don’t want him trotting out instead of trying field goals.


    To compare kickers to heavyweight boxers is so laughable……seriously??

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    Oh, baloney.

    Gramatica is talking hyperbole, and he knows it.

    It is not like they are practising 100 kick-offs a practice.

    Back in The Day, between my junior year in HS, 4 years in college and 3 in the pros, I kicked and punted a minimum of 100 footballs a day with only a few days break here and there. I never once had leg fatigue.

    I can’t speak for Santos, but Gay has a powerful leg and won’t suffer from practices.

    I never suffered from leg fatigue.

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    I think BA is doing the exact correct thing with these guys: put them under pressure EVERY DAY!

    There is NO better way to get a kicker or punter mentally prepared than to make pressure routine until you don’t even notice it.

  5. BringBucsBack Says:

    Cobra, your “pressure principle” (“Miss Jackson if you’re nasty”) could be applied to all players, no?

  6. Allbuccedup Says:

    Why is the kicking game such a fiasco with this team?

  7. Pickgrin Says:

    Hopefully the rookie can prove his accuracy – because he’s got a good bit more leg/range than Santos.

    Its most important to be able to hit kicks 45 yards and in consistently.

    But it also kind of sucks having your kicker’s outer range for an attempt be 52-53 yards or whatever.

    Sometimes the ability to hit a 55-60 yard field goal (which Gay has and Santos doesn’t) can mean the difference between a win and a loss…

    It will certainly be interesting to watch how the Buccaneers kicker battle plays out over the next 3 months.

  8. Miller5252 Says:


    I thought I was the only person that closes my eyes or goes in the other room when we kick field goals! Every time we kick I feel like that guy who punches his tv. Haha

    It’s pretty sad we have to have this conversation every year since Bryant moved on. Seems like kicking is a thing of the past and so many kickers now have so many problems. Hard to think that you have 1 job, get paid well for doing it, and still can’t do it in the 90-95% range….. I wish my student advisor would have told me about that job in high school.

  9. unbelievable Says:

    If a kicker is too tired (mentally or physically) when the regular season rolls around b/c of battling through training camp, then he’s probably not cut out for starting job in the first place.

    I also think Gramatica is being a little too dramatica about all this…

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Trust me, “soft” applies to kickers, too.

    We witnessed that with Aguayo.

  11. Unimpressed Says:

    Let’s just go for it on any fourth down inside of the opponents 40 yard line and forgo the kicking all together?

  12. kyle Says:

    jesus, i am sooooo tired of hearing, seeing, and reading about frigging kickers. this is unbelievable that we cant find 1 guy.

  13. mike10 Says:

    This whole thing was just setup so poorly.

    If you’ve signed a kicker, why draft one. Now it’s a lose-lose for us.

    If Santos wins out, you cut your 5th round pick. If the 5th round pick wins, you lose the guy that was consistent for you last year and fall back to a rookie who has never kicked a high leverage kick.

    This GM is something else… Let’s just say the Bucs haven’t sucked DESPITE Licht

  14. unbelievable Says:


    We had to do something. Calling Santos consistent would be a pretty big complement for his play last year:

    He was ranked 29th in FG% last season. (Actually 32nd, but there were 3 guys who kicked less than 6 FGs all season, I didn’t count them)

    So I’d say we want the draft pick to work out…

  15. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Thanks for those enlightening takes from someone with experience.


    Agree totally! There is a yuuuge difference in upside. Santos playing his best could become an adequate or competent NFL kicker.

    Gay OTOH has All Pro potential if he’s the real deal.

    The upside difference is so large gotta root for the rookie!

  16. SenileSenior Says:

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. The biggest failure of the Buccaneers was not drafting Aguayo in the second round. The biggest failure was not having him compete from the day he arrived.

    Kicking is a specialty role in football. Competition for each position only makes the players better. The they can all then be a part of the “teams” within the one team.

    Always return to the basics when evaluating. Football remains a team sport.
    Go Bucs!!!

  17. Smashsquatch Says:

    Martin is spot on, good points, agree with his observations. May the best leg win.