Are you prepared to trust Aguayo … again?

by Gary Shelton on August 5, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Aguayo had a good practice, but he needs to be better./CARMEN MANDATO

Aguayo had a good practice, but he needs to be better./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 3 a.m.

The ball leaves his toe, heading for the uprights, and you ask yourself: Do you believe what you see?

The kicker lifts his head, watching his latest success, and you ask yourself: Do you believe it will last? Do you think it will travel the same direction when the game is on the line?

Teammates congratulate Roberto Aguayo, and you ask yourself: How much a fresh canvas does he have really? Or, if it's close, will last season's failures count against him?

For now, all Aguayo can do is keep kicking. He has a lot of disappointment to

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Evans brings in a catch for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Evans brings in a catch for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

alleviate. He has a lofty draft status to live up to, and he has a lot of faith to restore.

“He was lights out,” Bucs' coach Dirk Koetter said after Friday's practice. “Best day of training camp, best day in a long time. He looked great today.”

Will it last? After all, Aguayo hit only 71 percent of his field goals as a rookie, worst in the NFL. He didn't hit anything longer than 43 yards. All of that came after the Bucs spent a second-round draft pick on him.

"I'm just having fun with it,” Aguayo said. “I'm just relaxing and letting it happen. I'm talented, I know what I've done and what I'm capable of doing. I've done it since I was 9 years old. I'm just letting my body take over, really."

Josh Huff makes a catch for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

Josh Huff makes a catch for the Bucs./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays were so fed up with Aguayo's performance a year ago that they signed free agent Nick Folk, who hit 87.1 percent of his kicks.

An incumbent kicker, of course, needs to win the job clearly. His previous failures are always going to work against him. A team can't be sure when his funk might return.

"I was just making it more than what it really is. You come into the NFL and you think – there are things that you've got to do a little better. It's a job. But at the end of the day, keep doing what you're doing. Take it back to when you were young and all you did was go out there and have fun. Enjoy the ride. That's one of the things Coach Koetter says, 'Enjoy the ride,' and I'm trying to do more of that.

“I was trying just to overdo things. Obviously you're trying to get better and trying to be a perfectionist at every little detail, but at the end of the day you're going to get too cluttered in your head. You've just got to relax, go out there and have some fun."

Aguayo, one of the most accurate kickers in college football history, needs to be more accurate for the Bucs. And he needs to hit longer field goals.

Aguayo had a 54-yarder on Frdiay. He had one that was “53 or 52.”

Howard pulls away from Alexander./CARMEN MANDATO

Howard pulls away from Alexander./CARMEN MANDATO

“He’s been good,” Koetter said. “These guys we talked about in the spring, usually out of 10 kicks it’s a one kick difference. But today, Roberto was money on both ends. I don’t think he missed all day. Yeah, he was money.”

Does that mean Aguayo had his confidence is back?

“He did today,” Koetter said. “Whatever he ate for breakfast, he better it eat it every day.”

Aguayo shrugs off his competition.

"You've got to enjoy it, you've got to embrace it,” Aguayo said. “I'm blessed to be out here. At the end of the day, my biggest competition is within myself. It's good to have someone out here just to see, to visually see someone (else). But at the end of the day, I know what I'm capable of doing. I've done big things throughout my career and I know that I'm capable of doing that and capable of being here. So at the end of the day it's just going out there and having fun, enjoying it and just hitting the ball."

Can you trust him again? Do you believe?

Probably, you won't fully trust Aguayo -- if ever -- until he nails a 53-yarder at the buzzer with the Bucs trailing by one.

Maybe until he does it twice.

Marpet sees no clouds in the sky./CARMEN MANDATO

Marpet sees no clouds in the sky./CARMEN MANDATO

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