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Barth injury leaves Bucs with long-range uncertainty

Connor Barth is “a weapon in the longer field goals,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano says, and his absence will affect game strategies.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times (2012)

Connor Barth is “a weapon in the longer field goals,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano says, and his absence will affect game strategies.

TAMPA — Bucs coach Greg Schiano, after wrapping up the first day of the team's so-called "rookie school" Thursday, lamented the loss of K Connor Barth, saying his absence could impact in-game decisions.

Barth will miss the season after tearing an Achilles tendon in a charity basketball game in North Carolina last week, the team announced Wednesday.

"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 long-range field goal attempts. He was 12-for-13 on attempts of 40 to 49 yards in 2012 and 6-of-9 on attempts of 50 yards or longer.

In critical game situations — in 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 when it comes to determining whether to attempt a field goal or a fourth-down try, or to punt.

Tynes, who has played in 129 career games, has 11 field goals of 50 yards or longer. Barth, in 66 games, has 12.

"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 injured, Schiano said only that contracts are clear on the ramifications of non-football injuries. Schiano said he doesn't instruct 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.

"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 … 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 the full amount or a reduced sum. It has not disclosed its plans.

REVIS UPDATE: CB Darrelle Revis spent much of May and June working out at One Buc Place to rehabilitate his injured left knee, but as is the case with all players, the Bucs haven't had access to him for the past month during the pre-training camp break.

Still, Schiano said, the team monitored Revis' workouts in Arizona, consulting regularly with his personal trainer and sending Bucs head trainer Todd Toriscelli to see workouts in person.

Schiano said Toriscelli's reports were positive, indicating Revis remains on track to practice with the team when training camp begins Thursday.

Revis, like some others coming off injuries, likely will practice in a limited capacity. He could be joined by Gs Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, and DE Adrian Clayborn. Decisions will be made case-by-case after players report Wednesday.

ROOKIES REPORT: Rookies took the field for the first time Thursday.

NT Akeem Spence, a fourth-round draft pick from Illinois, likely has the best shot among them to crack the opening-day starting lineup. Those aren't his words but his coach's.

"Before we left after (minicamp), Coach sat me down and told me I have a chance to be the starter," Spence said. "But it's not like he's just going to give it to me. I have to come out here and work for it and compete and show that I'm worthy to play right next to Gerald McCoy."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com.

Barth injury leaves Bucs with long-range uncertainty 07/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:29pm]
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