Former Jaguars punter Anger sees parallels with Aguayo, happy with fresh start in Tampa Bay

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Bryan Anger knows what the expectations are like for a kicker taken in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft.

He has seen the added pressure that accompanies a highly regarded rookie specialist.

The current Buccaneers and former Jaguars punter rode the relentless wave that comes with an uncontrollable situation.

Anger was selected with the 70th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. A third-round selection, taken before the likes of Russell Wilson and T.Y. Hilton, Anger felt an unreasonable amount of internal and external urgency due to a draft status he had no control over.

He saw those same issues impact former Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo, who was waived after one season and one preseason game Saturday. Aguayo was selected in the second round of last year's draft, an even more daunting stock to live up to.

However, Aguayo's draft status actually kept him employed for a season, as his rookie year was nothing short of awful. He only connected on 22-of-31 field goal attempts (71 percent) and 32-of-34 extra point attempts.

In his lone appearance with the Buccaneers this preseason, Aguayo missed an extra point and a field goal.

The Buccaneers were forced to cut bait on the once-promising specialist. He was claimed by the Bears just one day later.

"You never know how those situations are going to pan out," Anger said. "It's a performance-driven game though, so obviously you've got to make your kicks. But he's got a great leg, kind of similar to me. It's not always bad to go to a new place and start fresh. It'll work out, he'll figure it out and Chicago picked him up quick off waivers. They were high on the waiver wire, so he got picked up really quick, so best of luck to him."

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While Anger played out his entire rookie contract with the Jaguars, he wasn't able to avoid criticism from the fan base or media. A big leg kicker, his directional prowess was inconsistent.

Much like Aguayo, Anger felt the angst.

"It's a very similar situation," Anger said. "Came in as a high draft pick, things didn't go quite his way and it's sometimes hard to come back from that. It's not the worst thing to start new and start fresh."

Two offseason removed from his time in Jacksonville, Anger is in good spirits. He has enjoyed his time in Tampa Bay, where he was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl last season. He signed a five-year extension on December 31.

"We just played great as a [special teams] unit," Anger said. "[Buccaneers cornerback] Josh Robinson is killing it out at gunner, Ryan Smith steps in at gunner and does well, so just as a core we had a great year."

Anger has been unable to avoid Jacksonville since leaving. This is the second-straight training camp to feature joint practices between the Jaguars and Buccaneers.

While he has enjoyed his fresh start down the road in Tampa Bay, Anger said seeing old friends is a plus this week.

"It's good to be back, good to see familiar faces, coaches, a lot of turnaround on the team, but still there is a core of guys here that I was close with," Anger said.

With HBO's Hard Knocks documenting the Buccaneers this season, the crew has also visited Jaguars training camp.
 
Anger was featured in the show's debut episode last Tuesday. He said the cameras kind of fade out of sight once you get used to them.

"It's good," Anger said. "They're working with us and I got to do a cool feature, spearfishing before camp started so that was fun. Get a camera crew onboard and had a guy in the water, so you can't really tell they're there anymore. They're respectful to us."

Anger's love for spearfishing may have peaked in Tampa Bay but actually started when he was with the Jaguars. 

"My last year here in Jacksonville," Anger said. "Probably two, two and a half years. Water is so warm out here, I'm from California, 50-60 degree waters. We're diving in 85-degree water in the Gulf, board short only, so it's awesome."

The next episode of Hard Knocks airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on HBO.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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