New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro perfect in windy practice test

Five practices into training camp, kicker isn't a major storyline, which is a welcome change for Bucs.
New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro didn't miss in practice Tuesday despite a cross-wind during kicks.
New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro didn't miss in practice Tuesday despite a cross-wind during kicks. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times)
Published July 31, 2018

New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro won't get the chance to kick in Raymond James Stadium for another three weeks, but he's getting a feel for the conditions he'll face, including a perfect day with a cross wind Tuesday.

"I feel very comfortable," said Catanzaro, signed away from the Jets this spring with the hopes of bringing stability to a position the Bucs have struggled with in recent years. "Drew Ferris and Bryan Anger are doing a heck of a job snapping and holding for me, the guys up front are doing a great job blocking for me and the kicks are going through. I just have to continue getting better every day."

Whether it's been Kyle Brindza or Roberto Aguayo or Nick Folk, the Bucs have had all sorts of struggles finding consistency in the kicking game. Patrick Murray went 19-for-23 on field goals last year but wasn't re-signed. Instead the Bucs went with Catanzaro, 27, who went 25-for-30 on field goals and a perfect 29-for-29 on extra points last year with New York.

"We had a little tough wind, so it was a good practice to simulate maybe a game in the stadium over here," he said of Tuesday's kicks. "I played here last year in the stadium, so I got a good feel. In warmups, the wind was whipping pretty good … it's all about taking what you get, playing the right line and trusting the line."

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said he has confidence in his new kicker, who should also bring improved results in touchback percentage on kickoffs.

"One day doesn't make your kicker, but he was solid today," Koetter said. "It's awesome to have the wind, because we have plenty, especially early in the season. We'll have days like this. There's no doubt that Chandler's going to do a good job in my mind."

Catanzaro got $3.75 million guaranteed from the Bucs, all but locking up the job for him, though he likes the competition he's had with undrafted rookie Trevor Moore.

"Competition is always good," Catanzaro said. "Trevor's a great young kicker, and we're trying to make each other better each day. I'm always focused on how I'm doing. That's how my mindset has been since the beginning of my career, just competing against myself every day."