You can call it the curse of Matt Bryant. The Bucs haven’t had an accurate kicker since Matt Bryant, who, at the age of 42, is still alive and kicking for the Atlanta Falcons. Next in line, queue up, Patrick Murray. Again.
Murray won the latest raffle sponsored by the Bucs’ coaching staff this week. They brought in half a dozen kickers off the street (Martin Grammatica probably would have won the competition, but he wasn’t invited), and Murray was the last man standing. Ironically, he knew how to get to One Buc Place. Murray was the team’s kicker in 2014 before he was injured the following year.
Now, three years later, Murray believes he’s a better man and a better kicker.
So, after GM Jason Licht and Head Coach Dirk Koetter chose him over the likes of Cairo Santos, Josh Lambo, and Mike Nugent, Murray consulted with his psychic and took the job.
Wait a minute..he consulted with his psychic?
“She’s helped me tremendously with a lot of different things, and maybe it’s just getting me to talk has helped me, getting stuff off my chest and being able to kind of feel that positive energy,” Murray told the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud.
He told Stroud that he’s better now working under pressure.
If only Roberto Aguayo and Nick Folk had known that, maybe the Bucs could have called Joe Maddon for the number to that Seminole tribal elder, Bobby Henry. But then again, when the Medicine Man arrived at Tropicana Field 3 years ago, the Rays continued losing as soon as he got there. It did rain during that first game, though.
But back to kicking.
Bryant kicked for the Bucs for four seasons...with a 62-yard game-winning field goal against the Eagles in 2006. Three years later, he was released.
Among all-time Bucs’ kickers of any consequence, Bryant was third on the career list.. if you like successful field goal percentage as a gauge of a kicker. He converted 83.1% of his field goals. Only Connor Barth was better, at 83.8%.. and, yes, Patrick Murray at 83.3%.
Yes, Bryant and Murray were better, percentage-wise, than Gramatica.. better than Obed Ariri, better than Bill Capece or Michael Husted or Donald Igwebuike.
So, the Bucs’ kicking tee now belongs to Patrick Murray. Will he be better than Folk? Should he stay or should he go? We’ll find out over the next 12 weeks.
If you want to look to the future, Roberto Aguayo’s little brother, Ricky, is now kicking for Florida State.
Just don’t draft him in the second round.