Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kicker Connor Barth finding his place with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“This is a big year for me,” Connor Barth says. “I want to finally, hopefully establish myself as a good kicker in this league.”

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

“This is a big year for me,” Connor Barth says. “I want to finally, hopefully establish myself as a good kicker in this league.”

TAMPA

Connor Barth says that, especially in the life of a kicker, the NFL "stands for 'Not for Long.' " Barth, 24, knows from experience, having been on three teams in three professional seasons. He was the Bucs' third kicker last year and did a solid job, including making three field goals of 50 yards or more against Miami. But he admitted looking over his shoulder and, taking nothing for granted, lived in a Tampa hotel. But Barth, who will start in Week 1 for the first time, hopes he's the last leg of the Bucs' kicking carousel. He entered camp in the best shape of his life, went 5-for-5 in the preseason and traded his hotel key for an apartment close to One Buc Place. Barth has a month-to-month lease on the fully furnished apartment, but he is eager to make Tampa his permanent address. "This is a big year for me," he said. "I want to finally, hopefully establish myself as a good kicker in this league."

What Barth and the Bucs desire is consistency.

Tampa Bay had a league-low 16 field goals last year, with the worst percentage (61.5 percent). When $2.5 million free agent Mike Nugent flopped after taking over for Matt Bryant, the franchise's most successful kicker, and fill-in Shane Andrus failed to impress, Barth was brought in Nov. 3. There were plenty of big moments in his nine-game stint, including a 47-yard field goal in overtime to beat New Orleans and his three kicks of 50 yards or more in Miami (making him the fourth kicker in league history to complete the feat).

But four of Barth's five misses were from 30-49 yards, two of them less than 40 yards — kicks he knows he has to make.

"You don't want to take the short ones for granted; those are big kicks, too," Barth said. "You want to be money on everything, and that's my goal. You're going to miss, but my goal is to be consistent. Take one kick at a time."

Barth, a former North Carolina standout, picked up his offseason workouts in Chapel Hill, dropping some weight. But it's an improved mental approach that has him comfortable this season.

The Bucs showed confidence in Barth by bringing in just undrafted free agent Hunter Lawrence to compete in camp.

"Last year, I got a little bit caught up in mentally, just, 'Am I going to be here? Am I not going to be here?' " said Barth, who has been with the Chiefs and Dolphins. "But now it's a matter of having fun and loving the game. That's what got me here, and you can't lose sight of that. The NFL is a tough business, and if you're not having fun, it's going to tear you apart.

"Now it's just enjoying the ride. Because it's a blessing to be out here."

When Barth rides back to his apartment after practice, it's a much better feeling.

"I can finally meet some people that are around all the time, not like a hotel, where people are in and out everyday," he said. "It's a little more sense of a home. I definitely want Tampa to eventually be my home. I've just got to take care of business, and everything else will work out."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Kicker Connor Barth finding his place with Tampa Bay Buccaneers 09/05/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 5, 2010 7:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017

    Blogs

    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  2. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  3. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire

    Blogs

    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.
  4. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win

    Blogs

    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …

  5. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.