Gay drilled field-goal attempts of 32 and 48 yards as well as his lone extra-point attempt in the Buccaneers' 16-14 preseason win over the Dolphins on Friday.
The rookie appears to be well on his way to usurping incumbent Cairo Santos for the placekicking job, with Friday's 48-yard game-winning boot potentially having cemented his case. Gay has been every bit as good as advertised in both practices and through a pair of exhibitions, and while Santos has also been solid, the fact Gay will be cheaper and also cost the Bucs some draft capital could finish tipping the scales in his favor.
Gay made his one field-goal attempt, a 55-yarder, in the Buccaneers' 30-28 preseason loss to the Steelers on Friday.
Gay's one kicking opportunity Friday allowed him to flash the one aspect of his skill set that likely most endeared him to the Buccaneers, namely, his accuracy on long-distance kicks. The rookie has been impressive overall from various distances in training camp, but his ability to nail an attempt of that length in a game situation had to be particularly gratifying. Veteran Cairo Santos has also been solid and made his one kick attempt, an extra-point try, Friday, so the heated competition will carry over into next Friday's exhibition versus the Dolphins.
Gay was 10-for-10 on field goals during his first featured camp practice Saturday, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers' official site reports.
Smith reports the rookie fifth-round pick absolutely drilled his longest attempt, a 57-yard laser that would have been good from an even greater distance. The pressure, by training camp standards, was on Gay during his first chance in the summer spotlight, as veteran incumbent Cairo Santos had put together an 8-for-9 effort Friday and would go on to post a perfect showing Sunday. The long-distance success is nothing new for Gay, who finished his college career at Utah with an 8-for-11 tally on kicks from 50 yards and beyond. The competition between Santos and Gay looks primed to go down to the wire this coming preseason if the caliber of their respective early performances sustains.
Gay made a strong impression during OTAs and minicamp with his leg strength, Carmen Vital of the Buccaneers' official site reports.
The rookie fifth-round pick will battle incumbent Cairo Santos for the starting placekicking job, and if the offseason is any indication, training camp and the preseason should include a spirited competition. Vitali notes that Gay has impressed with a combination of leg strength and accuracy, which is unsurprising given his unblemished college track record on extra points, an 86.2 percent success rate on field goals in two seasons at Utah, and his 8-for-11 tally on kicks of 50-plus yards during that stretch. If Gay ultimately prevails over Santos, what projects to be a high-octane offense could provide the former with plenty of scoring opportunities in the fall.
The Buccaneers selected Gay in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 145th overall.
Roberto Aguayo jokes aside, Gay does make sense for the Buccaneers even as a fifth-round selection. The Utah product has a strong leg and should be able to beat out Cairo Santos and Phillip Andersen for the job in 2019.
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