At the NFL level, it’s the mental aspect of the game that separates kickers, even more than talent and leg strength.
Bucs K Roberto Aguayo – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay believes it found a kicker with a certain “it” factor about him, a swagger that allows him to make the clutch kicks or not let a rare miss affect him psychologically. And he would seem to fit that character assessment.
On Thursday, while standing beside former Bucs great Martin Gramatica in a joint press conference, the rookie kicker broke down the cerebral element of his job. The key to success, Aguayo explained, is to not get phased by outside pressure.
“Pressure is built from inside,” Aguayo said. “I’m competitive. I want to make every kick. At the end of the day it’s your kick. So I just (say) it internally; ‘I have to make this kick, this is what I have to do.’”
Aguayo said some of his teammates, in good fun, were giving him a hard time and trying to distract him during a few kicks in practice the last couple days. But the noise and watchful eyes don’t bother him, as no one – fans nor teammates – wants to see the kick go through the uprights more than No. 19.
“If no one is watching I’ll get mad at myself so I put the pressure on myself,” Aguayo said “When it comes to game time or when it comes time for that big kick, there is no pressure. It feels normal.
“I’ve done this since I was 8 years old,” he continued. “I’ve kicked a lot of balls and this is what I do for a living, so just be confident in yourself and what you do. If you go out there thinking this is not 100 percent or I might not make this kick then you’ve cut yourself out. You’ve already given yourself a chance of missing the kick. You have to go out there feeling confident. I know what to do. I’ve practiced certain situations, bad snaps in practice, bad holds… At the end of the day, have fun. Some kicks aren’t going to go in so you just have to work every day to perfect that.”
Of course it’s easier said than done and we won’t get a real idea until Aguayo starts kicking in games, when the pressure is on. But if his NFL career reflects his college career – where he was arguably the best of all time – then the Bucs are confident they found a weapon at kicker for the next decade-plus years. And Gramatica agrees.
“You can appreciate what the Bucs have done, especially knowing that you can have a kicker for 10 or 15 years,” Gramatica said. “If he stays healthy and does what he can do, then the Bucs are set with a kicker, whereas 99 percent of the time teams are looking for a good kicker. So if you can have one and lock him up for a while, it’s a great idea and a great choice (by the Bucs), especially when you get a guy like Roberto who’s a hard worker.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: email@example.com
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When will the team sign Aguayo? It is nice they drafted a kicker worth a 2nd round pick, but he won’t do the team much good if he isn’t signed.
If we dont sign him can we get our 2nd round pick back? LOL
These guys love kickers. I just hope they don’t pay him more than their paying Winston:)
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