Jason Licht: Kicker’s a very important position

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The Buccaneers’ search for a consistent kicker continued on Saturday when they drafted Matt Gay in the fifth round.

It was a move that left Gay “kind of shocked” because he wasn’t expecting to be drafted that early and it led many others to reminisce about Tampa trading up to draft Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft. Aguayo was cut after one poor season, but General Manager Jason Licht said that wasn’t going to stop him from going back to the well.

“You wouldn’t say the same thing for a receiver, if a receiver didn’t work out a couple years ago that you took in the second round, would you be afraid to take a receiver in the fifth round? No,” Licht said, via ESPN.com. “This is a very, very important position.”

No one would doubt that kicker’s an important position, although some may doubt that the Buccaneers have come up with an effective way of identifying good ones given the rate they run through them in Tampa. The team hired former NFL kicker Chris Boniol as a coach this offseason in another move they hope will help end that cycle and getting Gay up to speed will be his first order of business.

26 responses to “Jason Licht: Kicker’s a very important position

  1. Too many teams don’t believe this. See Bears, Chicago, and Vikings, Minnesota as examples 1a and 1b.

  2. To be honest, I would take a kicker in the second round if means guaranted 3pts and game winning kicks.

  3. Christian Evans says:
    April 28, 2019 at 9:12 am
    To be honest, I would take a kicker in the second round if means guaranted 3pts and game winning kicks.

    Or you could take him in the 7th round like everyone else…

  4. I mean, entire franchises have had their fortunes change because of poor kicking. Some franchises have experienced this multiple times. Ask the Vikings if you need a good kicker. Aguayo was a massive reach, but that doesn’t change the fact that entire seasons come down to a leg.

  5. I guess this means it will be an uphill battle for my fellow Dane Phillip Andersen to make the cut in Tampa. I hope he’ll get a shot with another team.

  6. Licht is not the only voice in the Buc’s draft room. But he is the final voice and takes the blame for any bad choices. The new Coach and his group have a lot of input of the decisions or they should have! You notice he never mentions anyone’s name but just calls his advisors “we”.

  7. bucforever says:
    April 28, 2019 at 9:38 am
    You notice he never mentions anyone’s name but just calls his advisors “we”.
    Licht picked that up from 2 stints in Patriots’ office. No one gets publicly named or blamed unless it’s the speaker blaming himself. See: any statement by any Patriots player or staffer.

  8. I’m okay with the pick. I’m not okay with the fact we cut an outstanding punter to sign a mediocre punter because the newer one can handle kickoffs, presumably because Cairo Santos can’t get touchbacks consistently…then we draft a kicker that can?

    Why did we get rid of a Pro Bowl punter then?

  9. Always ask what would Belichick do?
    Belichick amasses fleets of middle round picks to solve immediate or potential problems. Currency to steal a veteran away from a failing team. Ammunition to trade up when value appears. An extra pick to draft their targeted kicker a round or two before teams typically draft special teams. BB is always thinking 3 steps ahead of the flunkies that manage most NFL teams. Proactive vs reactive. Patriots lifer kicker Gostkowski is one example……drafted in the 4th when BB amassed a surplus of middle rounders just to secure his desired kicker.
    Bad kickers lose games, great kickers can win games.

  10. When you win, every decision is a good decision. When you lose, every decision is a bad decision. If Belichick would have taken this kicker in the 4th round, we’d be talking about what a smart move it was. The smart thing to do with any draft pick is wait 3 years and see how the player does. If this kicker has been to 3 pro bowls by then, all us geniuses out here will have to find someone else to criticize.

  11. I agree kicker is important, but just don’t understand why the Bucs keep wasting draft resources on kickers (4 picks from 2016 to present), especially when Jason Licht obviously can’t pick kickers. Consider:

    Licht became GM of Bucs in 2014. Kicker Patrick Murray was signed to futures contract about one month before Licht became GM.

    In 2014, Murray went 20 of 24 (83.3%) and was perfect on extra points.

    In 2015, Bucs cut Murray and Connor Barth (who was injured the entire previous season) after trading TE Tim Wright for kicker Kyle Brindza. Brindza goes 6 of 12 (50%) and misses 3 extra points and is cut after 4 games. Bucs bring back Barth who goes 23 of 28 (82.1%) and misses 1 extra point in final 12 games.

    In 2016, the Bucs trade 3rd and 4th rd picks for a 2nd and take Roberto Aguayo. So they used not 1, but 3 picks for a kicker. Aguayo goes 22 of 31 (71%) and misses 2 extra points.

    In 2017, Bucs sign Nick Folk to 1yr 1.75 M deal. Folk goes 6 of 11 (54.5%) and misses 2 extra points and is cut after 4 games. Bucs bring back Murray who goes 19 of 23 (82.6%) and misses 1 extra point in final 12 games.

    In 2018, Bucs sign Chandler Catanzaro to 3yr 9.75 M deal. Catanzaro goes 11 of 15 (73.3%) and misses 4 extra points and is cut after 9 games. Bucs bring in Cairo Santos who goes 9 of 12 (75%) and is perfect on extra points in final 7 games.

    So while I hope this guy works out, based on Licht’s history on choosing a kicker it seems unlikely that it will end well.

  12. Why did we get rid of a Pro Bowl punter then?

    It was purely a cap move. I forget the number but it was substantial for that position. BTW, we rarely punt anyway. Most of our drives end in turnovers or missed FGs.

  13. A good kicker is very important but it is also a crap shoot. Look at the Steelers last year. They could have won 3 or 4 more games if their kicker had been consistent. Instead he had a terrible year one year after being a pro bowl kicker.

    Or look at Justin Tucker for the Ravens. The model of consistency and a real weapon for the team. But even he missed a chip shot that would have won a game.

    It is the potential inconsistency that makes most teams get their kickers as free agents.

  14. If drafting a kicker were some sort of assurance that said kicker would be a long term answer, I’d have no qualms. The problem is that this kid, picked when depth help for both lines was out there, is no more likely to stick than some unknown guy they sign in July or even mid season like they did Santos

  15. I doun’t have a problem picking a good place kicker, or punter on day 3. If you believe in that kicker, or punter, and believe his he has a good chance to be better than the kicker you have, I don’t have a problem with drafting him in the 5th round. How many players actually make the roster on opening day that are drafted in the 5th, 6th, or 7th rounds? In rounds 5-7, players are drafted for their ‘potential’. Many become taxi squad members. A kicker probably has a better chance of making the opening day roster than most.

  16. mybigthirdleg says:
    April 28, 2019 at 8:22 am

    It’s important to make this FG’s when you’re down by 30…

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    It apparent you haven’t scene many Bucs games this past year. Most games the Bucs were competitive. We did get blown out by the Bears, I believe. However the Bucs did miss too many FG and extra points. Many were at critical times. Leave it to the Bucs fans to make comments.

  17. Kicker has become 2nd most important position behind QB. Eliminating all kicking other than FGs would be a great move.

  18. I’ve never understood the attitude many football people have towards kickers. If a good kicker can get you more points he’s valuable. 5th round picks usually never end up helping a team so why not put it to good use on a kicker.

  19. Kickers sometimes amount to half the points in a game. They’re more valuable than what a lot of people give them credit.

  20. First ever draft pick who’s laughing about being taken too high. Well, I guess he won’t be carrying a chip on his shoulder and trying to prove 31 other teams wrong.

  21. Matt Bryant is available…. ???? Although he probably only has few playing years left….

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