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Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro continues to miss, but for how much longer?

Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) walks off after missing a field goal during the third quarter. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro (7) walks off after missing a field goal during the third quarter. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Nov. 12, 2018
Updated Nov. 12, 2018
  TAMPA — Chandler Catanzaro’s job has been hanging by a thread for several weeks, placing more scrutiny on every kick he attempts. After Sunday’s loss to Washington, he might be the latest Bucs kicker to miss his way out of town.
Catanzaro missed two of his three field-goal attempts in the 16-3 loss at Raymond James Stadium. The misses, both wide right, proved to be critical in a low-scoring game.
“I’m trying to find (the reason for the misses),” Catanzaro said. “The ball is just not going through the yellow poles right now. It’s got to do that.
“I’m not sure (what’s wrong). I just try to take it one kick at a time. … Something’s wrong, and I’ve done my best to fix it, and up until now, it hasn’t been fixed.”
Coach Dirk Koetter wasn’t expected to discuss after the game whether Catanzaro had reached the end of his rope, but his response to a question about Catanzaro’s future was anything but a ringing endorsement.
“Any personnel changes, they won’t come (Sunday),” Koetter said. “We’ll talk about those (today), but that’s something that Jason (Licht, general manager) and I, we’ll have to talk about (today) — at any position.”
Catanzaro entered the day having made 10 of 12 field-goal attempts, but he had missed four extra-point attempts, all coming on his first attempt of a game.
Sunday, Catanzaro’s day began with a missed 30-yard field goal in the second quarter that could have tied the score at 3 after what ended up being the Bucs’ longest offensive drive of the game, 73 yards. Catanzaro went into that kick 9-for-9 on kicks of less than 40 yards.
“I try to treat every kick the same,” he said. “That one didn’t go through. I’ve got to move forward somehow.”
Catanzaro made a 33-yard attempt later that quarter.
“We’re leaving points on the board,” tackle Demar Dotson said. “But the biggest thing is not getting seven. You’re down at the 5-, 7-, 9-yard line and we’re kicking field goals. We’ve got to find a way to get seven. It’s hard to win in this league when you get down there and (are) going for three, and it makes it even worse when you don’t get three. But us as an offense, we have to get seven instead of three.”
The offense didn’t help Catanzaro on a 48-yard attempt in the third quarter. With 4:55 left and trailing 6-3, the Bucs drove to the Washington 16-yard line, but on third and 7 a low shotgun snap skated past quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for a 14-yard loss, forcing Catanzaro to kick from 48 yards instead of 34.
Catanzaro missed, making him 1-for-4 beyond 40 yards this year.
The Bucs’ kicking woes go back several years. Tampa Bay cut Kyle Brindza after four games in 2015, then drafted Robert Aguayo in the second round in 2016. He was cut before the 2017 season began. The Bucs cut Nick Folk after four games last season. Last offseason they signed Catanzaro, hoping he was the answer, giving him a contract for $3.75 million guaranteed.
After Catanzaro missed the 30-yard kick Sunday, the crowd booed, a reaction that was repeated after his second miss.
“I hold myself to a very high standard for this team,” Catanzaro said. “My job is whenever they call my name, I’m supposed to put it through the two yellow poles. I didn’t do that twice (Sunday). I feel bad for my teammates. That’s six points there.”
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.