The pressure of being a rookie is understandably adverse. The pressure of being a kicker selected in the second round is even greater.
But Roberto Aguayo is beyond the grace period, and things aren’t getting any better for him in Year Two.
First, a point-after attempt from the right hash went wayward — actually, it was perfectly straight, but the problem was it needed to not be straight — and DOINK!, off the right upright it went. But the night could still be salvaged, provided Tampa Bay found the end zone again.
Making matters worse for the youngster, the hottest kicking competition in the league (don’t @ me) got even hotter when 32-year-old veteran Nick Folk drilled a 45-yarder. When Aguayo got the chance to even the score a quarter later from 47, well, he failed.
Aguayo tried to stay upbeat about what happened, but the performance provoked a familiar response from coach Dirk Koetter after the game.
“I keep saying it, I can’t say it anymore. When you’re a kicker, you’ve got to make your kicks,” Koetter said.
We understand the pressure on Aguayo to succeed is enormous. His selection was a shock to everyone during the 2016 draft, and his rough go last season wasn’t just by chance. The kicker even consulted a mental coach to try to help him figure it out.
But time is running out, especially with Aguayo being on a team that expects to contend for its division. A competitive team can’t afford a liability anywhere, especially at kicker. Even the Cincinnati-based broadcasting crew was questioning Aguayo’s viability as the team’s kicker after the miss.
There are still three weeks to go, but here’s my preseason bold prediction: Hard Knocks comes to a climactic finish with Koetter calling Aguayo into his office to tell him he’s lost the battle with Folk, and his job. Perhaps a change of scenery would be best for him, anyway.