Santos Vs. Gay Minicamp Edition

June 6th, 2019

Winner or loser?


The kicking battle was back in action for the second of three minicamp practices yesterday. Here’s how it went:

Kick some, then stand around. Kick some more, then stand around some more. That’s the life of an NFL kicker this time of year. It’s the life of Bucs kickers Cairo Santos and Matt Gay right now.

Special teams toe the field first. Punter Bradley Pinion gets in work launching kicks downfield to a group of returners. The kickers are doing their thing, warming up, getting their legs loose.

Time for individual drills. Santos and Gay kick a few field goals, waiting for everyone else to finish up their drills.

When 11-on-11 work begins, everyone joins the team except the specialists. The kickers head to the west field to challenge each other to a duel. Both line up to see who can make more kicks inside the skinny posts. Long snapper Zach Triner and punter/holder Pinion head over to take part in the match.

Santos and Gay each line up from 40 yards. Both sink their first two kicks right down the pipe. Gay sends his over the net and over the gate that guards the practice fields.

They each back up 5 yards. The result from 45? Both send their kicks wide right. Both kicks would’ve been good on regular posts. But they didn’t head to this field to make it through regular posts.

They back up three more yards, now 48 yards out. Santos goes wide right again. Matt Gay sinks his through, easily clearing the crossbar.

Rookie kicker Matt Gay has reason to smile

Gay backs up 7 more yards, now setting up from 55 yards back. His incredible leg strength allows him to sail it through. While he was doing that, Santos decides it’s time to practice PAT’s, delivering on his first two kicks. Gay joins him and crushes his kick over the net and off the gate this time, the kick is good.

Each kicker sets up from 40 yards once more. Santos is wide right once again while Gay is heating up, nailing another kick.

The tide may be turning in this battle. The kickers back up four yards and Santos puts the heat on Gay by putting his kick through. The ball hit the right upright before going through, but it was good. Gay steps up and can’t respond, sending his kick wide left.

Both back up four more yards, now 48 yards out. Both sink their kicks right down the middle. They then back up to 50 yards. Santos just gets it through, barely having enough leg to clear the crossbar. Gay however, can’t sink his kick, sending it wide left once more.

Time for a water break on the sidelines. Once finished, Triner, Pinion and Santos sprint to the field and quickly set up from 45 yards out. They get the kick off but Santos clanks it off the post. They head back toward the sideline and Gay sprints out with Triner and Pinion and quickly sets up. He can’t hit his kick either, sending it wide left again.

Things slow down for these special teamers as they walk forward for Gay to set up from 41 yards out. He sets up for the kick and drives it. The ball sails to the left, leaving Gay shaking his head for the fourth time in five kicks.

Santos now backs up nine yards for his final kick of their private kicking session. From 50 yards out, this one has a lot more leg and Santos sends it through.

The kickers walk off and join the team during their 7-on-7 session. The next 20 minutes for Santos and Gay are very boring as they stand around and wait for more action.

Now comes the real test. The kickers trot out with the special teams units, lining up for PAT’s first. Arians and Licht have a close eye on each as they line up. First comes Santos. It’s good. Now Gay. It’s good.

Each back up to 35 yards. Santos. Nailed it. Gay. Nailed it.

Back it up to 40 yards. Santos makes his first mistake of the session. He kicks a knuckleball that sails to the right. Gay steps up. Crushes it right down the pipe. It’s good.

Now from 45 yards. Both send it home. From 50 yards. Santos misses right again. Gay sends the kickers out with a perfect kick from 50.

Outside of a two minute period where the kickers decided to kick balls at the media, they just stood on the sideline watching, ready for tomorrow, the final battle before training camp.

**The Bucs kicking battle? Tampa Bay kicking legend Martin Gramatica weighed in on that this week.**

18 Responses to “Santos Vs. Gay Minicamp Edition”

  1. Todd Says:

    “Gay sends his over the net and over the gate that guards the practice fields.”

    Best sentence I’ve ever read in here! 😂

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I really like these reports that are more focused on particular positions. I know Joe might be too busy to make such things regular, but man will I miss them when Zach is gone.

    “Gay sends his over the net and over the gate that guards the practice fields.”

    Got a kick out of that, lol.

    (see what I did there?)

  3. Slugglife Says:

    Only in Tampa Bay is a kicking situation this dramatic.

  4. Pete I Says:

    Seems unlikely Gay won’t be the starter week 1. There are no throwaway draft pics for a guy like Licht. Can’t have wasted another pick on a failed kicker.

    The ” best ” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay

  5. Buc believer Says:

    Santos loses his kicking job do to Gay…..

  6. R.O. Says:

    Hey Zach… You still need to be a lot clearer of when misses are on skinny posts or regular posts. I’m assuming 7 on 7 was on regular? Gay’s misses were on the skinny and most if not all would have been just fine in regulation?

  7. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    I don’t get the skinny post thing…I mean I do but can’t imagine it makes any difference

  8. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Hey Zach, would love to see a write-up of many of the UDFA’s that seem to be having an impact. i.e.

    QB, Nick Fitzgerald
    G, Zack Bailey
    RB, Bruce Anderson
    DE, Kahzin Daniels
    WR, DaMarkus Lodge
    thanks in advance

  9. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I had to look at this headline twice…

  10. Smashsquatch Says:

    Seabass 2.0

  11. TampaTown Says:

    Zach you are crushing it. We’re going to miss you here at Kramerica Industries. Good Luck in Gainesville such a great and underrated town.

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    @Altered Ego: skinny posts make a huge difference in mental perception.

    When I coached ST’s, I went one step further. I had the field prep guy put up just a pole. The kickers had to hit the pole. You focus your mind perception on kicking to just a pole, and you’d be surprised how accurate you become. Or how mentally weak you become.

    Then, after a couple of hours kicking at a single pole, the (then) wide college goalposts during team ST practice, not the narrower pro width, the goalposts look liked a 4-lane superhighway. You think you can never miss.

    It is all about the mental aspect of the game.


    In the WFL the league tried to get away from the kicking game having so much impact on the game. We didn’t have kicking PATs, similar to the AAF. We kicked off from the 30, so touchbacks became rainbow unicorns (although I DID get one in a game, to everyone’s surprise.) Punting rules didn’rt change much except fair catches were eliminated, although the returner was given a 3-yard cushion to catch the ball and run.

    But in training camp in ’75, the league experimented with FG scoring.

    There were two sets of uprights on the goal posts: the center posts were 6 feet apart. If the FG kick went through the middle posts, you got 4 points. If it went through the wider posts, or of the ball hit the skinny posts and didn’t go through, the lick was worth 2 points.

  13. SCBucsFan Says:

    AE its like putting into a smaller cup. When you get the real cup its like you are aiming at a bucket.

  14. Eric Says:

    When I first saw that I was trying to figure out what a “gay minicamp edition” was.

    Maybe cause of that Elton John movie.

    As for kicking, just make the extra points and short field goals please. Can’t possibly achieve anything else in buc land.

  15. 813bucboi Says:

    i’ll never forget going to TC and RA missing 6kicks…….the boo birds came out in full force and rightfully so imo…..

    i remember my wife saying, is he missing on purpose or is he that bad…….

    hopefully BA has gotten it right….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Pulling for Seabass 2.0.. He’s definitely got the look lol

  17. buc15 Says:

    @cobraboy I am digging your post brother.

  18. Magadude Says:

    Looks like it was a good day to be Gay.