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Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth maintains his focus

TAMPA — Having played for three teams in four seasons, Bucs K Connor Barth isn't one to get complacent.

It's awfully hard to considering the tenuous nature of the position.

"You miss one kick, and they're looking at you completely different," he said.

Barth hasn't missed much, converting 26 of 28 field goals. He is six shy of Matt Bryant's franchise record set in 2008, but he keeps it in perspective.

"This is my third team in my fourth year. I'm always going to have a chip on my shoulder, and that's what keeps me humble," said Barth, 25, who made 10 of 12 field goals for the Chiefs in 2008, was cut by the Dolphins during training camp in 2009 and signed with the Bucs on Nov. 3, 2009.

"You're just never going to get complacent because you never really know in this league. They're always trying to replace you. They always want to try to find a younger guy. So anything you can do to prove your case is what I try to do."

Barth is making $1.83 million this season and can become a free agent afterward. He said a narrowed focus has played a role in his success. In previous seasons, he might have looked ahead to see where he wanted to be, stats-wise, by the end of the season. Now he keeps a simple approach.

"As long as you make more than you miss, usually you're in a good position," Barth said. "And that's all I can ever ask for."

JONES FINED: The NFL fined S Sean Jones $20,000 for Sunday's helmet-to-helmet hit on Panthers WR Legedu Naanee. He was called for unnecessary roughness.

ALL SYSTEMS GO: QB Josh Freeman took a full load of snaps during Friday's practice, making it likely he'll start against the Jaguars.

Freeman sat out Sunday with a right shoulder injury but has had encouraging back-to-back days of practice during which he threw normally.

The news on CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) is not as encouraging. He did not practice for a third straight day and is listed on the injury report as out. That means 2010 third-round pick Myron Lewis will be active, coach Raheem Morris said.

DT Albert Haynesworth and TE Luke Stocker returned after missing two days of practice and should play.

CALLED UP: DE Tim Crowder, still experiencing issues related to a concussion sustained Sunday, was placed on season-ending injured reserve, opening a door for Lakeland native and former Gator S Ahmad Black's promotion from the practice squad.

Black's timing is fortunate for him because S Larry Asante, whom the Bucs planned to give playing time down the stretch, is doubtful for Sunday with a hamstring injury sustained during Thursday's practice. Morris said he expects Black to be active.

After spending the whole season on the practice squad, Friday's news was a long time coming for Black, the team's fifth-round pick this year.

"I had to patient," he said. "I had to (do that) in college. I didn't play that much my first year. I just had to be patient and put it in God's hands and go out there every day and control what I can control. I had to go out there and do my best."

Black missed the preseason with an ankle injury, making it difficult to get consideration to make the final roster. But his performance in recent practices has been worthy of a promotion.

"Ahmad was given a helmet not because anybody felt sorry for him or felt it was time," Morris said. "He's earned his way into this role. He did it the right way."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth maintains his focus 12/09/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 9, 2011 8:25pm]
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