The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a change at kicker for the second time in the 2009 season. Kicker Connor Barth was signed, and kicker Shane Andrus was released. Andrus played in three games for the Bucs after replacing kicker Mike Nugent.
The Bucs had concerns regarding Andrus' accuracy in practice. He attempted just one field goal for Tampa Bay after replacing Mike Nugent. The Bucs say Barth has a more accurate leg as well as better leg strength on kickoffs. Andrus missed his one field goal attempt for the Bucs, and averaged 20.3 yards on kickoffs with one touchback.
“It is about constant evaluation of the bottom of our roster,” said head coach Raheem Morris. “We got to constantly evaluate that. We weren’t getting it in practice. We weren’t getting the kickoffs that we wanted in games. We got to keep looking at who do you want. Hopefully Connor can come in here, and he had a nice workout, a really good workout. Now it is his turn and we’ll see what he can do.”
Barth, 23, originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He was with the Dolphins in the 2009 offseason, and Miami released Barth on July 28th. Last year Barth played in 10 games for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) on his field goal attempts in the NFL. His long kick was 45 yards, and Barth averaged 24.4 yards per kick return with four touchbacks. Barth (5-11, 193) was a perfect 24-of-24 on extra point attempts.
In college (2004-2007) Barth was a four-year kicker for North Carolina. He was 54-of-71 (76 percent) in his collegiate career. In four seasons he was 15-of-21 from beyond 40 yards, and 4-of-9 at 50+ yards. Barth was on numerous All-ACC lists as a first-teamer, second-teamer, and honorable mention.
Nugent started the season as the Bucs kicker. He was 2-of-6 in four games, and missed 2-of-4 field goals in his final game at Washington. The Buccaneers lost that game 16-13.
The Bucs also added cornerback Mike Mickens to their 53-man roster and released CB Marcus McCauley.
A 2009 seventh-round draft pick out of Cincinnati, Mickens spent the first half of the season on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, which is where the Bucs found him.
The 6-foot-, 186-pound Mickens notched 233 tackles, one sack, 48 passes defensed and a school-record 14 interceptions during his collegiate career. However, injuries caused Mickens to drop in the draft.
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