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October 1, 2012 @ 12:29 pm
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Barth Keeps Streak Alive, But Would Rather Have Wins

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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Fifth-year kicker Connor Barth was rewarded in May with a four-year contract extension and continues to show the Bucs why he is worth the $13 million. Despite a team-record 25 consecutive field goals made which also leads the NFL among current kickers, Barth cares more about the team's record than his own. 
Kicker Connor Barth holds the Buccaneer record for consecutive field goals made with 25, and the fifth-year kicker isn’t done. With each ball passing through the uprights, Barth adds to his record; which also leads the NFL among active kickers.

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina with Kansas City in 2008, Barth couldn’t win the starting kicker spot and was waived by the Chiefs in August. Re-signed by Kansas City two months later, Barth remained a perfect 9-for-9 until week 15 when the former Tar Hell missed two field goals, including what would have been a 50-yard game-winner as time expired. Barth was waived in July 2009 in favor of the Chiefs signing Ryan Succop.

The following month, Barth spent 19 days on Miami’s roster until the Dolphins ultimately chose Dan Carpenter. In November, Barth was signed by Tampa Bay and hasn’t looked back since.

In his first game as a Buc on November 8th against Green Bay, Barth made one field goal on two attempts and three extra points. The following week, Barth tied an NFL record held by five other kickers (Morten Andersen, Kris Brown, Sebastian Janikowski, Neil Rackers, and Josh Scobee) when he made three field goals of 50 yards or more (50, 51, and 54) against the team that cut him nearly three months earlier, Miami. Six games later, Barth kicked a 47-yard overtime field goal to give the Bucs the 20-17 win over division rival Saints in New Orleans.

In his second season as a Buccaneer, Barth made 25-of-28 field goals and all 36 point after attempts. Barth followed that up last year going 26-of-28 and making all 23 points after touchdown kick; his current streak dates back to October 16th against New Orleans.

In March, Barth was hit with Tampa Bay’s franchise tag and missed a portion of the offseason. Barth was eventually rewarded for his consistency when he signed a four-year, $13.2 million extension with the team in May.

Unlike many players who take the foot off the pedal once they get their big pay-day, Barth has continued to be the most consistent scorer on the Buccaneers. This season, he has made nine straight field goals and all point after attempts; three field goals have been over 50, with his career-best 57-yarder coming against Washington.

Barth talked to the media during open locker room Monday and shared that the contract situation in the offseason was definitely a distraction and something he wasn’t sure how to exactly handle at first.

“I was a little overwhelmed coming into OTAs because that was something I have never seen before,” Barth said. “He [dad] just told me ‘They paid you for what you have done and just continue to do what you did. That’s what got you to where you are.’

“I think that really settled me a little bit. I found my groove in training camp because I was all over the place in OTAs. I didn’t feel good at all, but then when I came in during training camp and got back in the groove—like I said having (Andrew) Economos and Mike (Michael Koenen) holding [and] snapping and for the first time ever to have the same group of guys makes everything a lot easier.”

When asked what he meant by not feeling good, Barth explained it was mentally challenging to get back into the groove after extended time off.

“Just coming in,” Barth said. “I came in and having not been in the whole season. You know the new coaching staff. Getting [used] to everybody and then you know I had been kicking, but it is a totally different tempo when you come into kicking live. I came in and kicked immediately live and it didn’t feel comfortable. Felt like I hadn’t kicked before actually. So I went home and came back.

“Like my dad said ‘They treated you with that contract because of what you have done and how you performed in the past so just keep doing what you are doing. There is nothing you have to do different. Just keep kicking.’ And I think that’s what has helped me and just talking it one kick at a time.”

Taking it one kick at a time follows the same mentality of Greg Schiano’s Bucs, who view each week as a season. Barth says his confidence is always high on every kick, but would rather be kicking extra points than field goals.

“My confidence level is good,” Barth said. “For me it is just one kick at a time. Like I was saying every kick is the same for me no matter what distance. I just try to go out there and put it through, but like I said you always want to be trying to kick extra points.”

When Barth was coming out of Chapel Hill, many analysts thought he would not make it as an NFL kicker due to lack of a strong leg. With 28 kicks between 40-49 yards and nine over 50 yards in his career, Barth is proving the naysayers wrong.

“Everyone has always said I have not had a strong leg, but I have tried to overcome that,” Barth said. “For me it is just putting in the work, doing the yoga, and working with my trainer back home…he was actually at the game yesterday so he got to see my career long. I was like hey man it’s all because of you.”

Yoga has helped Barth who considers himself a “Yoga master”, but confidence and hard work are keys to his success as well. Another major factor for Barth is his holder, punter Michael Koenen and his long snapper Andrew Economos.

“I have always said I have never had the strongest leg,” Barth said, “But I have always prided myself on my leg swing and my consistency. From 50, 55, and in I am usually feeling pretty confident [that] I can make it every time. I guess my range is extending a little bit.

“Like I said it is just the confidence I have with my line blocking and then having (Andrew) Economos and Mike (Michael Koenen) there. It is just the sense of—you feel calm back there. Schiano puts us in situations in practice where he is talking to me all the time and getting into my ear and it just makes games sometimes easier because there is no one there sitting talking to me. It is great what we have done in practice and it has helped me through the games.”

Barth, himself, deserves a lot of the credit for his 25 kick streak, but he will never take it, always looking towards his team mates, trainers, and parents as the reasons why. When it comes to the streak itself, Barth admitted he is not superstitious and he has no idea how long his consecutive streak will hold up.

“That is a long way away,” Barth said. “My goal is to just take it one kick at a time and make sure that if I keep doing what I am doing you never know what may happen.”

As the Bucs head into the bye week at 1-3, Barth says he will spend time with his family away from football, but when they return next week, he will look forward to the rest of the season.

Instead of looking to keep his kicking streak alive, Barth is more concerned with the team adding to the win column, and finishing the season strong.

“It is more about the team and trying to get that W,” Barth said. “So got to look past this one and keep working and enjoy this bye week. Get away from football a little bit [and] enjoy family then get back at it. Finish these last 12.”
Last modified on Monday, 01 October 2012 14:02

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  • avatar

    I believe the league record is 42. If the offense continues to struggle getting in to the end zone, Barth could set a new record by Thanksgiving. I'd rather see a new record for extra points.
  • avatar

    He's my kicker as well. After all, the Bucs don't score many TD's and he makes all his kicks!
  • avatar

    Given Barth's continuing success, I've never understood why he's rarely, if ever, mentioned nationally. He's my fantasy league kicker because he's good, not because he wears red and pewter. For those who think Dominik never finds quality players; look no further than # 10 and our free agent punter isn't bad either.
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