In what may be looked back on as a critical move, Lovie Smith and Jason Licht have brought back the Tampa Bay Buccaneers most accurate placekicker in its history Wednesday, just two days after the guy who replaced him missed an extra point, a Field Goal, and went 1 of 2 the week before! Now cut your ties with Murray and thank your lucky stars; you got lucky the last time to cut a succesful placekicker after a year of misery.
Mind you I was a big supporter of the move to go to Murray last year, and Murray was Money. But something is wrong this year!! He missed a FG in first preseason game, then missed another one last week. More inexcusable, he missed an extra point when the NFL is going all GaGa over extra point kicks. They’re 32 yard FGs now!!
In case your lost, or just joining us, lets catch you up to “As the placekicker’s world turns”…
Last season Barth was coming into a camp where he did not kick the year before because he was rehabbing an injury from playing a pick up basketball game (for a good cause mind you, a charity event). The Bucs had spotty kicking in 2009 when they let go of established kicker Matt Bryant who set Bucs and some NFL records with the longest FG of 62 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles. I mean I still have to celebrate
Matt Bryant day because of that! Tampa Bay got Mike Nugent who had a good record kicking long FGs in the NFL, but instead was inconsistent in his first few weeks in Tampa. He missed a kick in the 30-39 range, then missed all three of his kicks in the 40-49 range, the whole reason he was brought in.
He was replaced with Kicker Shane Andrus who was cut after missing his only attempt, also in the 40-49 range. Then the Bucs gave kicker Connor Barth a chance who quietly made a FG in his first game, but in his second game at Miami, Barth connected on a 51 yard attempt in 1st Qtr, a 50 in the 2nd, and a 54 yard FG in the 3rd quarter, all but cementing himself in as the Bucs new permanent Placekicker. That season Barth hit 4 of 6 in 30-39 range, 5 of 7 in 40-49 range and most importantly, 3 of 4 in the 50+ category, which was the main reason for replacing Matt Bryant to begin with!
Barth continued to be the centerpiece of special teams on the Bucs, but just before the 2013 season Barth announced an offseason injury to which he would be lost for the year because of a pick up basketball game for charity. It was the beginning of a string of bad news the jinxed Bucs of 2013 would experience, including losing one kicker and eventually a pro bowl Guard to MRSA, Josh Freeman exposure and release, but when Lovie Smith was named new in bound Head Coach he had competition for Barth in the name of undrafted rookie Patrick Murray, who beat out Barth mostly due to his substantially lesser contract price. Barth was making close to 3 million dollars a year, added to Kicker/Punter Michael Koenen and those two were commanding enough money to bring in several players. Plus, Murray kicked well, and it appeared to be even steven so Money made the difference.
Fast Forward to now, and just when placekicking becomes a critical part of the offense now in the NFL with 32 yard extra points, Murray misses one, on a team that is not offensively developed enough to go for 2 point conversions on a regular basis to overcome losses of extra points.
The Denver Broncos had another kicker in camp and thanked Barth for his awesome kicking in the last few games of 2014. Now Barth is onboard for just over a million a year, so will he return the favor and unseat Murphy?
Barth’s current Bucs records;
- 4th Most points scored 123, 131 Matt Bryant’s record
- T3rd most points placekicking in a Game, 14 vs Saints 2011 (16 from Gramatica 01)
- Best FG Percentage 92.9% 26 of 28 2011
- Most Extra Points in a game Barth No.1 @ Oakland 2012 w/6
- Longest FG made Barth’s 57 harder vs Redskins 2012 ties Husted’s same distance vs Redskins 93 (Bryant’s 62 is NO.1)
- Most Consecutive FGs made Barth is NO.1 w/25 10/2011 to 9/2012 (Husted and Gramatica are ties 2nd 16)
How good is Barth? He makes 53 yard FGs for Breakfast (in voice of Arnold from “Commando”)
Onside kick anyone? Barth has mad skills!
Currently the longest FG in Barth’s Bucs career.