Greg Schiano reacts, adjusts to the loss of kicker Connor Barth
Bucs coach Greg Schiano, after conducting the first day of the team’s so-called “rookie school” today at One Buc Place, lamented the loss of kicker Connor Barth, saying his absence could even impact in-game decisions.
Barth, the team announced Wednesday, will miss the season after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon in a charity basketball game last week.
“It’s a shame,” Schiano said. “We lost a very consistent performer. A guy I thought was a very big part of what we’re doing.”
Barth was especially consistent when it came to nailing long-range field goals. Barth in 2012 was 12 for 13 on field-goal attempts of 40 to 49 yards and 6 of 9 on attempts of 50 yards or longer. In critical game situations, during which Schiano has come to rely on Barth’s long-range accuracy, not having the same confidence in his replacement – Lawrence Tynes – could force different decisions from the coach when it comes to determining when to attempt a field goal, fourth-down try or punt.
“I thought Connor was a weapon in the longer field goals,” Schiano said. “He was exceptional over 40 yards. We’ll have to play that out. I have not coached Lawrence at all. So, I couldn’t tell you. I just look at the numbers. But we’ll see. That’ll all play itself out.”
Regarding the manner in which Barth was hurt, Schiano didn’t pile on, saying only that contracts are clear on the possible penalties for suffering non-football injuries. Schiano said he doesn’t instruct his players on what they can and can’t do in their free time, but he does make it a point to remind them of the consequences, he said.
“Contracts have prohibitive language of what you’re allowed to do,” Schiano said. “It’s a fine line because you like guys to do things but you have to do it in a controlled manner. Sometimes you can get the same benefit doing something in a drill setting rather than in a free, competition setting. But it only comes up when something happens. But there’s certainly contractual language.”
The Bucs placed Barth on the non-football injury list and are not required to pay him his $2.3 million base salary. The team does have the option to pay him the full amount or a reduced sum, but it has not disclosed its plans.