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A Few Fast Facts About New Bucs Kicker Cairo Santos and Why the Red Zone is So Tough, According to Alan Cross | Carmen Catches Up

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-Following a loss at home against Washington in which the Bucs missed two field goals from 30 and 48 yards, the team released kicker Chandler Catanzaro on Monday. It was announced last night that the team had signed Brazilian kicker Cairo Santos in his place, who was most recently with the Los Angeles Rams. Let’s take a look at the new Bucs’ kicker with a few fast facts below:

·     This is Santos’ fifth season in the NFL. He was originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, where he spent the next three plus seasons before signing with the Chicago Bears in 2017. He played in two games for the Los Angeles Rams this season before being released.

·     He has made 132 of 138 extra points attempted in his career and is 95-for-113 on field goal attempts, giving him a career 84.1 field goal percentage.

·     His career long is 53 yards.

·     He was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and attended Tulane University in Louisiana where he was teammates with quarterback Ryan Griffin.

-Tight end Alan Cross was a guest on Bucs Total Access yesterday and talked about what’s different inside the red zone that makes it so tough. He went into how you’re now working with a short field, meaning that everything is condensed. It favors pass coverage because now safeties can help outside corners in double-teaming receivers. It also limits the types of routes receivers can run. Defensive backs reading a receiver’s release will often be able to figure out exactly where they are going by a sort of process of elimination, taking the short field and common route concepts into account. The remedy for that can be stretching the field laterally, since you can’t do it horizontally, or run it up the gut, as Cross says.

“A lot of it is just spreading the guys out when we get down there,” Cross said. “Or just running right at them or running up the middle.”

The Bucs did a better job of incorporating the run on Sunday. Running back Peyton Barber had 61 yards rushing, but had a 4.69 yards-per-attempt average, which was enough to make the run a viable threat against Washington’s fifth-ranked rushing defense. Also, fellow running back Jacquizz Rodgers got nearly all of his yards through the air, according to the stat sheet, but they came on a lot of short passes after which Rodgers fought to gain yards himself. That actually does show up on the (more advanced) state sheet. Eighty-one of his 102 yards on the day came as yards-after-the-catch. He caught all eight of his targets and if you average the actual air yards between the eight catches, you get a measly 2.63 air yards per catch. His yards-after-catch-per-reception averaged out to 10.1. That’s a first time in yards after the catch on each catch. And it’s something no one saw coming.

-The good news is that for the Bucs, the offensive options are plentiful, which has been well-proven throughout the season so far. Tampa Bay had a pair of 100-yard receivers on Sunday against Washington, though I guarantee you wouldn’t have been able to predict the unlikely duo in advance. It was running back Jacquizz Rodgers that had his first 100-yard receiving game of his career along with wide receiver Chris Godwin, who had the second such game of his young career.

“It’s cool because it’s like who’s it going to be today?” Cross said as he highlighted the day both Godwin and Rodgers had. “Is it going to be Mike [Evans], O.J. [Howard], Cam [Brate], Quizz [Jacquizz Rodgers]? It’s always good to see guys like [Rodgers] get in and make an impact and just really proceed to lead this team in a good way like Quizz is doing.”

-Leaders like Rodgers are the ones who are responsible for helping the team to keep pushing through a valley in the season, according to Alan Cross. He said it’s up to the veterans to help the team rebound.

“It’s really the ‘old guys,’” Cross said, referring to the veterans. “Really, it’s everybody but mostly the old guys bringing the team together and just playing as a family and communicating and everybody being on the same page and buying into the program and keep chugging along.”

While Cross admitted to being somewhere in the middle of the rookie-to-veteran scale, he did point to one former Buccaneer who was the biggest influence on him and the guys who are considered veterans on the team now, leaving a lasting legacy as a result.

“I think the biggest guy is Vincent Jackson, being here during my rookie year,” Cross said. “And Mike [Evans], he learned from him. Guys like Chris Godwin are learning from Mike, and Justin Watson is learning from Mike and Hump and all those guys. It’s real cool to see that because Mike works his butt off every day. I’ve never seen a guy work that hard every day to be such a star player like he is. That’s really kudos to V-Jack and some of those guys that were here my rookie year.”

The self-proclaimed ‘John Stockton’ of the Bucs (which Cross calls himself because Stockton was the more anonymous player of the infamous Dream Team in the 1990s), Cross says he just tries to help out and fit in where he’s needed. And he’s become a fan-favorite because of it.

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