Bucs signing of Lindell adds intrigue to kicking competition
For the first few weeks of preseason, Derek Dimke had a monopoly in the Bucs kicking competition.
With veteran Lawrence Tynes (toe) sidelined, Dimke, undrafted out of Illinois in 2012, made the most of his opportunity, going 5-for-5 in field goal attempts in two exhibition games, and was solid in practice.
But Tynes won't be handed the job by default, with veteran Rian Lindell arriving Wednesday upon signing with Tampa Bay.
Lindell, 36, is an intriguing option for the Bucs. He was recently cut by Buffalo, where he spent 10 seasons and became the most accurate kicker in franchise history. He connected on 83.3 percent of his field goals, and falls 32 points shy of Steve Christie's frachise record of 1,011 points. The Bills signed him to a four-year, $10.9 million contract just 18 months ago.
But in the NFL, especially life as a kicker, nothing is guaranteed. The Bills drafted kickers the last two drafts, and sixth-round pick Dustin Hopkins beat out Lindell during camp and preseason in Buffalo.
The Bills, apparently, had been concerned about the declining power in Lindell's leg. And when Hopkins showed better strength in camp, as well as going 4-for-4 in games, Lindell lost his job.
"I just didn't kick like I wanted to kick," Lindell told the Buffalo News. "I should have kicked better. I think I'm better than I've showed. I just didn't hit as clean a ball as I feel I could have. That's a little frustrating."
Dimke has shown some power in the preseason, and practices, but has never played in an NFL game, quite the difference from what the Bucs had in Connor Barth, whom coach Greg Schiano trusted a lot.
It looks like Dimke, 23, and Lindell will each get their shot. At the very least, Lindell gives Dimke's right leg a bit of a break.