Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs journal: Veteran kickers expected to try out next week

TAMPA — The Bucs have not yet released Nick Folk, who missed three field goals in Thursday's 19-14 loss to the Patriots, giving him six missed kicks in five days.

But the team is, as they say in the industry, lining up for an attempt.

The Bucs have reached out to veteran kickers and will organize a group tryout for next week, when it's likely they will find their next kicker, hoping to end a frustrating cycle.

Among those expected to come in for the workout are former Dolphin Andrew Franks and former Bengal Mike Nugent, who spent four games with the Bucs in 2009 before getting cut.

Franks, 24, started in Miami the past two years, going 16-for-21 on field goals last year, with a long of 55 yards, and 41-for-42 on extra points. Nugent, 35, was Cincinnati's kicker the past seven years and had signed with the Giants but lost out to rookie Aldrick Rosas. Nugent had a down year in 2016, going 23-for-29 on field goals and 23-for-29 on extra points.

Perhaps the best kicker available, former Chief Cairo Santos, isn't an option for the Bucs' next game as he's still about three weeks away from a healthy return from the groin injury that cost him his job in Kansas City.

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter wouldn't elaborate on plans to work out other kickers, but he reiterated Friday that three missed field goals — especially one from 31 yards in the fourth quarter — is unacceptable.

"There were a couple there that you're expecting him to make," Koetter said. "When I say we're disappointed at opportunities that we missed (Thursday), that's at a lot of different positions, and that's certainly one."

'Incredible' debut

Antony Auclair, an undrafted rookie tight end from Canada, had been inactive for the Bucs' first three games, but he got to make his NFL debut Thursday, playing 19 snaps on special teams and one on offense.

"It was insane. Incredible," said Auclair, who in the locker room was sporting a "Rouge et Or" (Red and Gold) T-shirt of his college, Laval, in Quebec City. "An incredible feeling. The Patriots are actually my mom's favorite team, which was funny. She's changed her sides now. But for me, a Thursday night game, Color Rush, against the defending Super Bowl champion. You couldn't ask for a better moment for my first game."

When it was first and goal at the Patriots 1, the Bucs lined up with all four tight ends blocking for RB Doug Martin, who leaped over Auclair's block for the touchdown. "Doug jumped over me for the touchdown — that was kind of cool," he said. "One play, 1-for-1!"

Big crowd

Thursday's sellout at Raymond James Stadium was announced at 64,476, most for a home game since the Eagles in 2012 drew an announced 64,941. Actual attendance, per the Tampa Sports Authority, was 60,997. That's 94.6 percent capacity, highest in at least three years.

This and that

DE Ryan Russell, who left the game with a shoulder injury, had his left arm in a sling Friday and said he dislocated his shoulder during the game. The team is awaiting results of an MRI exam to determine any other damage. … Jameis Winston has played in 36 NFL games, but three of his six top performances in terms of passing yards have come in the past 13 days. … The players have today, Sunday and Monday off and return Tuesday to begin preparations for their Oct. 15 game at Arizona.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690.

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