Yikes! Aguayo misses two kicks as Bucs lose

by Gary Shelton on August 12, 2017 · 2 comments

in general

Ague got off to a terrible start for the Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Aguayo got off to a terrible start for the Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Saturday, 2 a.m.

An extra point. He missed a bleeping extra point.

Another one.

Forget everything else. Forget a hot start by Jameis Winston. Forget Mike Evans' dominance  in the first quarter. Forget the porous run defense. Forget all of it.

Roberto Aguayo and his misguided foot missed another extra point and another field goal Friday.

And doesn't that remind you of last year?

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Winston started hot for the Bucs./JEFFREY S. KING

Winston started hot for the Bucs./JEFFREY S. KING

The much-hyped Tampa Bay Bucs opened their preseason schedule Friday night, losing a practice game to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-12. That might have been disappointing enough with a lackluster running game, backup quarterbacks who didn't distinguish themselves, dropped passes and defensive rushing lanes that looked like freeways.

But the thing that will stick with a lot of Bucs' fans is that Aguayo was wobbly again. Yeah, the kid who is on thin ice, the kid with his back to the wall, the kid trying to erase bad memories, was bad again.

How does Aguayo come back from this? You have to wonder if this was the kill shot on his time in Tampa Bay.

Already, he was perhaps the least popular of the Tampa Bay Bucs, a player who came at a high price and whose performance was low priced. He missed an extra point that would have given Tampa Bay a 10-3 lead in the first half and later was wide on a 47-yard field goal. That's likely to cause more anguish for the Bucs than the 23-12 loss to Cincinnati.

"That's something that will definitely be talked about," Koetter said."I've said it before. I can't say it anymore. If you're a kicker in this league, you have to make your kicks."

Again, the score is never the thing in exhibition football. But the play of different units is. And that was enough to disappoint a lot of Tampa Bay fans.

Yes, there were some good parts. Winston and Evans started off the game in synch. Vernon Hargreaves looked sharp. Nick Folk kicked a 45-yard field goal.

But there was too much sloppiness, too. And too few players really established themselves. Instead of Hard Knocks, this week's chapter should be called Hard to Watch.

Koetter needs to see better from his team./CARMEN MANDATO

Koetter needs to see better from his team./CARMEN MANDATO

Oh, and Aguayo – who had the NFL's worst field-goal percentage in the league last year — blew another extra point and missed another extra point. Maybe you heard.

The impression had been that Aguayo had a slight lead in his kicking competition with Folk. This changes that. Maybe it was final-straw time.

A rundown:

1. Winston: On his first six passes, Winston had five completions and a dropped pass. The only quibble is that he twice missed fade passes to Evans at the goal line. Still, a 94-yard drive on his opening series is reason to hope.

"I think he was nine out of 13," Koetter said. "I think there was one throw we'd like to have back, the third down to (Evans).

2. Vernon Hargreaves III: Hargreaves started as a rookie, but it was mostly shadow-and-tackle. This year, the Bucs want to see more aggressive play from him. His interception at the goal line stopped an early Bengals' drive.

Martin had one run of at least four yards. /JEFFREY KING

Martin had one run of at least four yards. /JEFFREY KING

"Saved points,' Koetter said. "Big play. We challenged Vernon to take the ball away and he's done it."

3. Doug Martin: Martin didn't look like anyone should worry that he'll miss the first three games. He started out with a six-yard run, but he had only five yards on his next three carries.

4. The backup quarterbacks: Not great, not awful. Ryan Fitzpatrick was six of 13 with an interception (and a rushing touchdown). Ryan Griffin was four of nine before leaving with a shoulder injury.

"Unfortunate freak thing," Koetter said.

5. The other Bucs' backs: There weren't enough big gainers. Peyton Barber ran eight times for only 21 yards. Charles Sims had a 13-yarder and rookie Jeremy McNichols went for 11. But there were many one-and-two yard gains.

6. DeSean Jackson: He had only one catch for six yards in his debut. Hey, he's 30. Preseason games only hold so much drama.

7. Rushing defense: They gave up too many huge holes when it counted. The Bucs simply have to be better.

8. Pass rush: The Bucs didn't have a sack against the Bengals first two quarterbacks. It has to get better.

9. Kwon Alexander: In his brief time in the game, he had five tackles.

10. The Banger: Brian Anger again was one of the Bucs' hidden weapons.

Hargreaves made a key interception at the goal line./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Hargreaves made a key interception at the goal line./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller August 12, 2017 at 4:46 am

I was very impressed with Winston’s performance and to me that was the most important takeaway of the game. Remember how bad he typically starts games? Well last night he corrected that. The only flaw I saw was he had 2 chances to get the ball to Evans in the end zone and missed on both. Ronde Barber commented on TV that he just needed to throw a jump ball and let Evans use his height over the smaller DB. I suspect they will work on that in practice a bunch next week.

As for Aguayo, he should be out. Cut him today. No need to dwell on it. They have a competent replacement so let’s move on.

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Gary Shelton August 12, 2017 at 8:22 am

You’re probably right on Aguayo. I admired him in college, and I’ve always hoped he’d settle down and let his talent take over. But if this is going to continue, it’s hard to ask a contender to risk games for him.

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