On Wednesday, recently re-signed kicker Connor Barth admitted that his apparent lack of power/experience on kickoffs could’ve been a reason he remained a free agent until now.
And while Barth said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to kickoff, something he hasn’t done in Tampa Bay since 2010, it hadn’t yet been confirmed that he would handle that responsibility.
It was on Thursday.
K Patrick Murray – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Connor will kickoff for us this week, yes,” head coach Lovie Smith said at his press conference. “I feel pretty good [about his ability]. He’s the one guy on [the roster] who’s done it, so we feel good about him kicking off.”
After signing with the Broncos in Week 13 last season, Barth kicked off eight times in his first game. And after averaging 57 yards with zero touchbacks, Denver turned to their punter for the final four weeks and kept Barth strictly to field goals and extra points.
In Tampa Bay’s case, Kyle Brindza kicked off all 18 times in 2015 and recorded 13 touchbacks. While the Bucs have upgraded in accuracy (Barth is a career 85.3 percent kicker), they’ve likely sacrificed the consistency to place the offense at the 20-yard line, which means the kick coverage unit has more to do now.
“We like our personnel,” Smith said about his coverage team. “We feel like we’ve upgraded our special teams personnel.
“A lot of times you have to cover kicks. As you put your kickoff team together, you’re putting it together to cover kicks, so we feel good about it.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Gobsmacked…“I feel pretty good [about his ability]. He’s the one guy on [the roster] who’s done it, so we feel good about him kicking off.”…I mean we do have video tape and all of his attempted kickoffs Lovie…and it’s not pretty…there’s a reason we paid a punter $4m/season (and the reason is he could do an okay job of kicking off in place of our feeble kicker)…this is a big mistake!
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Denver’s the easiest place to kick deep, too. Are we SURE Schum can’t do this?
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