Earlier in the week we at PewterReport wrote about a rocky day for Bucs’ second-year kicker Matt Gay, but he and free agent competitor Elliott Fry have both had strong camps overall, going 5-for-5 apiece on their Wednesday attempts. Following the Bucs’ practice, head coach Bruce Arians and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong weighed in on the ongoing kicking battle.

“I think it’s close, I think it’s real close,”Armstrong said about the Bucs’ kicking competition. “I think with Matt, the thing I learned is that he’s got to learn how to be consistent and that’s what we’re looking for. That’s hard to do, but that’s what wins. He’s got to learn to be consistent. You can’t make the 60-yarder and miss the 45. You’ve got to learn to be consistent [because] they all count. They only count for three, but it’s three that we need and we want.”

Arians mirrored that emphasis on consistency, arguing that trait will likely be the final difference-maker when the competition is settled, as both kickers have had strong showings in camp thus far.

“The most consistent guy,” Arians said about what will create an edge in the competition. “They both have enough leg strength, Fry kicked a 56-yarder with no problem and I don’t think we’ll try too many that are longer unless it’s the end of the half. Leg strength is no problem, so it’s just the most consistent guy and if there’s a disparity, it’s who’s the most consistent inside 35.”

Despite carrying a field goal percentage of 85.7 percent into the Bucs’ final three games, Gay converted just three of his final eight field goals, including three missed kicks against Atlanta in an eventual overtime loss in Week 17. He finished the year with a field goal conversion rate of 77.1 percent.

It will be interesting to see how the kickers are tested on Friday when the Bucs head to Raymond James Stadium for a live scrimmage, where both players will presumably be in line for multiple situational kicks, including into the wind when facing the dreaded south end zone.

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BigSombrero
8 months ago

Gay will be fine. The guy has a cannon for a leg. He’ll just improve as the season wears on. If they cut him for Fry, well, at least it was only a 5th round pick.

scubog
8 months ago

Up until last season I never heard a word about the south end zone being any more problematic than the north end zone. Sure never posed a problem for the countless long FG’s against us, often right at the end of the first half.

surferdudes
8 months ago

What scares me is since Lichts been here we’ve never had a consistent kicker. By the way, you can’t learn to be consistent, you either are, or aren’t. Back to Licht. What a waste of a second round pick, at least Gay was a 5th in case he doesn’t work out. I’m pulling for whatever kicker gives us the best chance. Just leave Licht out of the final decision.

fredster
8 months ago

I’m not convinced Gay will be “fine” he melted down end of last year. He cost us Giants game missing easy 34 yarder. I never heard any issues with south end zone either. Apparently only affects him. Lol. Wind should affect strong leg less too right? Anyways I’m glad they will take most consistent one. May the best man win.

fredster
8 months ago

I just looked up 2019 extra points stats. Bucs and Gay were ranked 27th. I think he was only one to miss 3 in single game (Falcons) as well although one was blocked….remember Arians taking penalty to move him back? Lol. Crazy. So far the guy has not shown consistency in short FG’s or extra points. Maybe they should keep two kickers and just bring out gay when it’s 50 plus. Lol. It’s funny all talk about the defense being so bad and Winston’s TO’s but we could been 9-7 instead 7-9 if he just hits a damn 34 yarder… Read more »

toucan
8 months ago

This time of year the prevailing SE-SW breezes can be a factor at the RJ south end zone.Good kickers learn to deal with it.