New Buccaneers punter Robert Malone said leg strength is the reason why the team decided to sign him and replace departed punter Chris Bryan. On Tuesday, the Bucs worked out Brent Bowden, T.J. Conley, and Malone.
“They really liked my leg strength,” said Malone. “I did have a couple of about 70 yards yesterday. They did like my leg strength and they told me they wanted to see a little bit more consistency. They saw the potential and hopefully we’ll see more of those than anything else.”
Malone first entered the NFL in 2010 with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. The Jaguars cut Malone before the first preseason game. In his senior collegiate season he averaged 45.2 yards per punt with 17 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He also had 15 punts of over 50 yards. In his collegiate career he punted 120 times for 5,117 yards with 42.6 average and 44 punts downed inside the 20. When the Buccaneers cut their sixth-round pick Bowden at the end of the preseason, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik said the team made the change at punter because they wanted longer more booming punts than what Bowden produced in the preseason. The same desire resulted in Bryan's release.
“I’ve always had distance. I’ve been working on my hang time,” said Malone. “At Fresno we did a lot of directional that plays in the NFL.”
Another critical duty of Malone’s will be to hold on field goal attempts for kicker Connor Barth. Tampa Bay is a perfect 6-for-6 in field goals in 2010. Malone is experienced from holding in college.
“I haven’t even done anything with them yet, I met them both today,” said Malone prior to Wednesday’s practice. “Hopefully the chemistry is good. I held for four years at Fresno State. I’ve held for both right foot and left foot [kickers].”
Malone is the sixth punter to be on the Bucs roster since Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris took over the team in January of 2009.
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