The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made another kicking change after Nick Folk’s disastrous performance on Thursday Night Football.
The Buccaneers officially placed Folk on injured reserve with a “minor injury” classification and signed a familiar face in kicker Patrick Murray, the team announced Monday.
Murray, 26, made his NFL debut with Tampa Bay after his collegiate career at Fordham and made 20-of-24 field goals during the 2014 season. After his breakout 2014 campaign in which he nailed five-of-six field goals from 50 yards or more, Murray would spend the next two years on injured reserve due to season-ending knee injuries.
The Cleveland Browns had named the FCS All-American kicker their starter last season, but Murray re-aggravated the same knee before Cleveland’s Week 3 game.
The Buccaneers have been desperate to find some consistency in their kicking game and even used a second-round pick to select Lou Groza Award winner and three-time All-American Roberto Aguayo in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Aguayo made just 22-of-31 field goals in his rookie year after making 69-of-78 field goals during his college career at Florida State, and when his struggles continued in the 2017 preseason, Tampa’s front office elected to go with a proven veteran.
Folk, an 11-year veteran, made 27-of-31 field goals during the 2016 season with the New York Jets but couldn’t seem to find a rhythm with Tampa Bay.
In four games, Folk made just 6-of-11 field goals and his three missed kicks in a close Week 5 loss to the New England Patriots was clearly the last straw.
Tampa Bay’s coaching staff and front office can only hope Murray can turn around the franchise’s kicking woes, and he will get his first opportunity against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday.