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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Listen to Episode 4 ...

Our weekly Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast is back, with Episode 4 now online and myself and Rick Stroud talking about the Bucs' 37-23 loss to Carolina and looking ahead to this week's home game against the Jaguars. Is this the week the Bucs get Lovie Smith a home win? Listen in, and subscribe on iTunes -- thanks for making this part of your Bucs week ...

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Bucs go back to the future and sign PK Connor Barth

Connor Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11.

Times files (2012)

Connor Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11.

Maybe it was the power of social media.

After watching Bucs rookie place-kicker Kyle Brindza missed his second field goal Sunday, veteran Connor Barth tweeted he was available for the right price.

Following a workout Tuesday morning, the Bucs met that demand and signed Barth to a two-year contract.

Barth, 29, was the Bucs' kicker from 2009-12 and set the franchise record with a 92.9 field goal percentage in '11. He was cut last season when the team opted to go with rookie Pat Murray.

Barth went 15 of 16 in field goal tries in five games for the Denver Broncos last season.

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WR swap: Bucs waive Humphries, promote Donteea Dye

The Bucs have added speed to their receiving corps, dropping one undrafted rookie in favor of another, with Adam Humphries getting waived on Monday and Donteea Dye of Div. III Heidelberg University getting called up to the 53-man roster.

Dye, who was among the team's final cuts, could be active Sunday as the team's No. 4 receiver if Russell Shepard hasn't recovered from the hamstring injury that sidelined him from the Carolina game. He's taken the long road to the NFL, getting a look at as a tryout player at rookie minicamp, getting signed as an undrafted rookie, missing the cut and earning a spot on the practice squad and now being promoted to the active roster.

Dye, 6 feet and 195 pounds, had 14 touchdowns for the Student Princes at the small Ohio school -- he is one of the fastest if not the fastest player on the Bucs' roster, having caught seven passes for 82 yards in the preseason.

Humphries, who made the Bucs' initial cuts as a rookie out of Clemson, lost the punt and kick return job to Bobby Rainey and has played sparingly as a backup receiver, with just two catches for 14 yards. It's possible the Bucs could sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

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Erratic Kyle Brindza will not miss another kick for the Buccaneers

Kyle Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.


Kyle Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.

Kyle Brindza will not miss another kick for the Buccaneers.

The rookie from Notre Dame was informed this morning by coach Lovie Smith of the team's plan to release him.

Brindza made only 6-of-10 field goal attempts and missed two PATs in four games this season.

Smith stood by his kicker after he missed three field goals and an extra point in the Bucs' 19-9 loss to the Texans last week. But that decision burned the Bucs Sunday when Brindza missed field goals of 29 and 43 yards Sunday in a 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Former Bucs PK Connor Barth could be a candidate to replace Brindza. After the second missed field goal by the Bucs' Sunday, Barth tweeted, "I am just saying, I'm available for the right price. #freeagent.''

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What they're saying about Bucs' loss to Panthers

Another week, another disappointing loss for the Bucs, another round of links to share for fans who didn't get enough Sunday. As always, we'll start with our own coverage here at ...

-- The afternoon rain came and went Sunday, but the Bucs' costly mistakes -- Winston interceptions and Brindza missed kicks -- kept pouring down on Bucs fans, Rick Stroud writes.

-- Poor coaching and preparation may be the Bucs' biggest problems, and Lovie Smith doesn't have the answers, Tom Jones writes.

-- Our game notebook starts with the "freak play" that killed the Bucs, with a forced fumble turning into a Panthers touchdown.

-- Five Things You Might Have Missed, including three straight misses to Vincent Jackson, Danny Lansanah's "Superman" celebration and Doug Martin's five receptions.

-- Here's our photo gallery with tons of great pics from Sunday's game.

-- Charlotte's Joe Person writes on Panthers rookie DE Ryan Delaire, who had two sacks against his old team, saying he never really had a chance to show the Bucs anything in preseason. …

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Turnovers doom Bucs in 37-23 loss to Panthers

TAMPA -- Five Bucs turnovers led to 27 points for Carolina, and Kyle Brindza missed another two field goals as the Panthers pulled away to a 37-23 win over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium.

The Bucs (1-3) dropped their 11th straight home game, with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston throwing four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Cam Newton threw two touchdowns to receiver Teddy Ginn for Carolina (4-0).

For the second week in a row, the Bucs were hurt by missed field goals from Brindza, who missed three field goals and an extra point in last week's 19-9 loss to Houston.

Down 17-10, the Bucs drove inside the Carolina 15, only to see Brindza miss a 29-yard field goal at the end of the half. The Bucs forced a fumble on the first play of the second half and drove inside the Carolina 20, but took a sack and saw Brindza miss again from 43 yards.

Then Carolina put the game away -- the Bucs again forced a fumble from running back Jonathan Stewart, but it popped right into the arms of tight end Ed Dickson, who rumbled 57 yards for a touchdown.

Winston then threw his third interception -- second by Panthers cornerback Josh Norman -- to set up a 12-yard touchdown from Newton to Ted Ginn for a 31-10 lead midway through the third.

From the start, the story was Carolina scoring off Tampa Bay turnovers -- the Bucs fumbled the snap on their second play, setting up a 24-yard Graham Gano field goal.

Three plays later, Winston was picked off by Norman, who returned the interception 46 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Carolina led 17-3 after Newton hit Ginn for a touchdown after another Winston interception, but the Bucs rallied back, with Winston going 6-for-6 for 67 yards on a drive capped by Doug Martin's 5-yard scoring run to cut the lead to 17-10. …

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First half observations Carolinia 17, Bucs 10

The Bucs played giveaway in the fisrt half against Carolina and trail the Panthers 17-10.

Some first half observations

--Winston has to learn to take care of the football, especially early in games.

His first pass in each home game not only has been intercepted, it was returned for a touchdown. Winston also fumbled a snap and had a tipped pass intercepted, leading to all 17 of Carolina's points.

--The Bucs' play-calling at  the end of the half was curious. The Bucs had two timeouts and the football within striking distance of the end zone. But they played to get the football closer for PK Kyle Brindza.

--Brindza, the Bucs rookie kicker, may want to look for another job. Brindza missed three field goals and an extra point in a 19-9 loss to the Texans last week. Bucs coach Lovie Smith chalked it up to a 'bad day.' But after making a 42-yard FG in the first quarter, he missed from 29 yards to end the half.

--The Bucs defense is getting after Newton. They've done a decent job shutting down the run and putting pressure on the Panthers QB but must not give him the edge. …

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CB Banks among five out with injury for Bucs

The Bucs have a season-high five players out with injuries for today's home game against the Panthers, with cornerback Johnthan Banks (knee) perhaps the biggest loss for Tampa Bay.

The Bucs will also be without center Evan Smith (ankle) and tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and Luke Stocker (hip), with receiver Russell Shepard, the team's top special-teams tackler, out with a hamstring injury. Safety Major Wright and No. 3 quarterback Ryan Griffin are also inactive for the game.

The Panthers have arguably the biggest injury in the game, with Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly missing a third straight game as he recovers from a concussion.

With Banks out, the Bucs will start former USF standout Mike Jenkins, with Joe Hawley making his second straight start at center for Smith. The Bucs have shifted third-year pro Will Gholston back into the starting lineup at defensive end, in place of George Johnson, who didn't have a sack in three starts to open the season. Replacing Shepard on special teams will be undrafted rookie cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah, who was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday.

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Bucs promote rookie CB Jude Adjei-Barimah

With one injury trumping another, the Bucs have made a late-week roster switch, promoting undrafted rookie cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah from the practice squad and waiving tackle Reid Fragel, who had been promoted earlier this week.

The Bucs need Adjei-Barimah because starting corner Johnthan Banks hasn't practiced all week with a knee injury and is likely inactive for Sunday's game against Carolina. Fragel had been promoted because rookie tackle Donovan Smith had a knee injury, but he's returned to practice and is now expected to start as normal against the Panthers.

Adjei-Barimah, who played at Bowling Green, has one of the team's most interesting backgrounds -- born in Italy, parents both from Ghana, didn't know about football until he moved to the United States at age 10. He was working Friday as a gunner on special teams, and that's where he's most likely to help the Bucs on Sunday.

Fragel got one step closer to making his NFL debut, but he'll have to settle for an NFL game check this week -- as long as you're on the 53-man roster on Tuesday at 4 p.m., you get paid the same whether you dress on Sunday or get cut.

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Bucs LB Kwon Alexander voted NFL Rookie of the Week

Bucs rookies continue to garner league-wide honors, with linebacker Kwon Alexander voted as Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week, one week after Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston earned the honor.

Alexander, a fourth-round pick from LSU who has played every defensive snap in the Bucs' first three games, had 10 tackles in the Bucs' loss at Houston, as well as his first career interception.

The Bucs had won the weekly honor just five times from 2002-14 -- three from Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in 2005 -- and now have won in back-to-back weeks. It's the first time two different Bucs have won the honor in the same season.

Alexander, who leads all NFL rookies with 23 tackles in three games, is the lowest-drafted player to win the weekly honor since Week 6 of last season, when undrafted Branden Oliver of the Chargers won the honor. NFL teammates haven't won the award in consecutive weeks since the Chargers' Keenan Allen and D.J. Fluker in 2013.

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RB Martin back, but Banks among four Bucs out

Bucs RB Doug Martin, held out of Thursday's practice after injuring his knee in Wednesday's drills, was back with a helmet on at Friday's practice, an encouraging sign he will be able to play in Sunday's home game against Carolina.

"It's fine. I'll be perfect for Sunday," Martin said after practice.

And while Martin returned, four Bucs did not Friday and are unlikely to play after missing practice all week: CB Johnthan Banks, C Evan Smith and TEs Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Luke Stocker.

Coach Lovie Smith stopped short of ruling any of the four out for Sunday, but said "if a guy doesn't practice on a Friday, you can draw your own conclusions."

Banks played only 10 snaps on Sunday's loss at Houston, so it's likely the Bucs would start Mike Jenkins in his place -- Jenkins had nearly twice as many snaps in Houston as Alterraun Verner while filling in for Banks. With Smith missing a second straight game, the Bucs will start Joe Hawley, who stepped in well last week as the line didn't allow a sack against the Texans. …

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Bucs' Frazier says Jared Allen not the same anymore

Defensive end Jared Allen will make his Panthers debut in Tampa on Sunday.

David T. Foster III/The Charlotte Observer via AP

Defensive end Jared Allen will make his Panthers debut in Tampa on Sunday.

Of all the coaches on the Bucs staff who can speak to the greatness of defensive end Jared Allen -- who will make his Panthers debut in Tampa on Sunday -- it probably starts with defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who was in Minnesota for all six of Allen's seasons with the Vikings.

Allen had 84.5 sacks in those six seasons, along with 16 forced fumbles, peaking with a 22-sack season in 2011 when Frazier was Minnesota's head coach. And yet when Frazier was asked about Allen on Thursday, he acknowledged he might not be the same pass-rusher he once was, perhaps sending some motivational bulletin-board material up to Charlotte.

"I have good memories of Jared, seeing him get after quarterbacks for as long as he did for us and did a terrific job in doing that," Frazier said. "I haven't seen much of him on tape from his time with Chicago, but a gregarious guy, great in the locker room, just a good player to have on your team. He's what, 33 maybe now, so I'm not sure he's the same as when he was 25 or 26, although I'm sure he would say different. But a great player, has been a great player in our league for a few years." …

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RB Doug Martin not practicing; LT Donovan Smith back

Running back Doug Martin was sidelined, with coach Lovie Smith explaining that he "hit his knee" in practice Wednesday and was held out.


Running back Doug Martin was sidelined, with coach Lovie Smith explaining that he "hit his knee" in practice Wednesday and was held out.

Just as one key offensive starter returns to practice for the Bucs on Thursday, another is suddenly sidelined.

Rookie left tackle Donovan Smith, held out with a knee injury Wednesday, was back participating on a limited basis Thursday afternoon, but running back Doug Martin was sidelined, with coach Lovie Smith explaining that he "hit his knee" in practice Wednesday and was held out. "Should be OK," the coach said.

Cornerback Johnthan Banks (knee) remains sidelined, as do center Evan Smith (ankle) and tight ends Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and Luke Stocker (hip).

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LT Donovan Smith, CB Johnthan Banks not practicing

The Bucs returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time since Sunday's loss in Houston, and left tackle Donovan Smith and cornerback Johnthan Banks were among those not practicing due to injuries.

Smith's injury wasn't immediately known, but it is serious enough that the Bucs waived running back Mike James to make room for tackle Reid Fragel, who was promoted from the practice squad. Banks, who played only 10 snaps Sunday before his toe caught in the turf, twisting his knee, said Wednesday that he was "day-to-day" recovering from the injury.

The Bucs were also without center Evan Smith (ankle), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and tight end Luke Stocker (unknown). Safety Major Wright, who missed two games with an abdominal injury, was back out and practicing for the first time since the injury.

A few transactions in addition to Fragel -- defensive end Kourtnei Brown was signed off the Bucs' practice squad to the Texans' active roster, and the Bucs added two players to the practice squad in former Gators tight end Tevin Westbrook and guard Antoine Everett, who was with the team in preseason.

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Bucs Winston following footprints left by Cam Newton

Jameis Winston, left, and Cam Newton, right.

JIM DAMASKE | Times; Getty Images

Jameis Winston, left, and Cam Newton, right.

They entered the NFL with expectations that come with being a Heisman Trophy quarterback and national champion. Both were the No. 1 overall picks and went to the worst team in football coming off a 2-14 record.

So if there is anyone who knows what it's like to be Jameis Winston, it's the Panthers' Cam Newton.

"For him, we had some of the same similarities of the whole process,'' Newton said Wednesday. "The thing that myself and he had to learn is that it's a long process. The thing he had and I also had was that determination of success and winning but you're coming into a league where you're going to the worst team. So it's a learning curve and a learning process but he'll be all right with his forte of him being him and the whole gambit of being a Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall pick. It's something he's learned to grasp and accept it with open arms.'' …

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