Kicking Battle: Training Camp Competition Heating Up
One of the big stories on the third day of the NFL draft was the Buccaneers selecting kicker Matt Gay in the 5th round. Many were calling for Jason Licht’s head, but the pick made sense. The Buccaneers have struggled with finding a kicker ever sense they let Connor Barth walk in free agency after an injury. Last year the team brought in former Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Cairo Santos who managed to hit 9 of his 12 attempts.
Santos is excelling in training camp, a week ago he drilled seven of his eight attempt. The miss came from his longest attempt of that day, a 59 yard field goal. And as seen on the ATB twitter, he drilled a 54 yarder Monday, right down the middle.
Gay is also doing very well. Said to have a substantially stronger leg. And he showed that against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one of the preseason, hitting a 55 yard field goal (which set the record for longest field goal ever at Heinz Field). The rookie is already breaking records. He also hit a 60 yard field goal in camp last Tuesday.
Needless to say this kicking competition is close. However, it seems very likely Gay is going to win. He’s younger, he was drafted in the fifth round and as said before, has a much stronger leg. But this is a problem Tampa loves to have. I couldn’t tell you the team had to decide between two great kickers. If Santos doesn’t end up winning this battle, he won’t be looking for work very long.