They say the third time is the charm. The Bucs are hoping that expression applies to their kicker position.
Tampa Bay's 2009 season isn't even halfway over, and the Bucs are already on their third kicker, having parted ways with Mike Nugent and Shane Andrus since the start of the regular season. Tampa Bay also released veteran K Matt Bryant immediately after the preseason concluded.
The Bucs, who have made just two field goals through seven games, had serious concerns about Andrus' ability to solidify the kicker position. He struggled on kickoffs and was 0-of-1 on field goal attempts, which prompted Tampa Bay to audition kickers on Tuesday.
Connor Barth impressed the Bucs in his workout. He displayed a strong and accurate leg in windy conditions at One Buccaneer Place. That showing convinced the Bucs to make a move, signing Barth and releasing Andrus.
"You can't control anything else, so you just take it one kick at a time," Barth said of the windy conditions he kicked in Tuesday. "I was fortunate to land this opportunity and I plan to take full advantage of it."
Like the Bucs, Barth, a 2008 undrafted free agent out of North Carolina, also hopes the third time, or in this case, team is the charm. He previously kicked for the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
Barth, 23, is 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) on his field goal attempts in the NFL. He has a long of 45, but believes he is a reliable kicker from beyond 50 yards.
"I feel comfortable hitting every time from 53 yards or in," said Barth. "But if we had to go out to 60 I could probably put it through."
Since being released by Miami on July 28, Barth has worked on improving his leg strength and added five pounds of muscle while working with former coaches and teammates at North Carolina.
Although he still hoped to play in the NFL again, Barth planned for life after football by earning his insurance license.
Barth hopes to provide the Bucs with the insurance they desperately need at the kicker position.
"My plan is to come in here and do my job and help this team win," said Barth. "You just have to go out and take it one kick at a time and enjoy it. The NFL is a business and you have to go out and enjoy it. I'm excited about the opportunity and plan to make the most of it."