1. Bucs

Bucs cut 11, including kickers Barth, Murray

Connor Barth (1), brought back to challenge for the kicking job, is outperformed in less than a week by rookie Kyle Brindza.
Connor Barth (1), brought back to challenge for the kicking job, is outperformed in less than a week by rookie Kyle Brindza.
Published Sep. 5, 2015

TAMPA — A week ago, Connor Barth and Patrick Murray, the past and present of Bucs kickers, were battling for the team's starting job.

On Friday, both were cut loose, with the job going to rookie Kyle Brindza, who was acquired by trade from the Lions on Monday and kicked field goals of 57 and 55 yards in Thursday's preseason finale against the Dolphins, locking up the job in a whirlwind week.

"When you talk about his ability, I feel a lot better going with someone that has something that's rare, that very few people have," coach Lovie Smith said of Brindza. "I think it's safe to say he has a strong leg that probably is rare. We feel good about that.

"It's more than just having a strong leg. You have to have some accuracy, too. It's good to get in those situations and hit both of those field goals, and for kickoffs, too."

Barth and Murray were two of 11 Bucs who moved on Friday as the team got halfway from its 75 players to the 53 required by today's 4 p.m. roster-cut deadline. Some of the moves were more surprising than others:

• Rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell, a fifth-round draft pick from Nebraska, was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, days after he had hoped to test the injured leg with the hope of playing Thursday. Bell won't play this season, but the move keeps him under contract, to learn and get healthy. The move also clears a spot for another rookie, Adam Humphries, who had a touchdown Thursday night and might be the punt/kickoff returner.

• Defensive tackle Da'Quan Bowers was released after four disappointing seasons. The 2011 second-round pick, shifted to defensive tackle, couldn't land a backup job, even after a solid game Thursday with five tackles and a sack. "It's been a great ride the past 41/2 years in Tampa," Bowers wrote on Twitter. "Thanks to coach Lovie and staff for the opportunity in the preseason … Thanks to the fans who have supported me for the past few years. Good luck to my brothers and Buc nation go get em. #BUC4LIFE."

• Tackle Patrick Omameh, who started every game at right guard last season, was waived after being shifted to tackle in the spring. Even with lingering injuries to rookie Donovan Smith and backup Kevin Pamphile, Omameh is out of a job, and before other backups Reid Fragel and Edawn Coughman.

• Linebacker Khaseem Greene, one of the biggest standouts of Thursday's game, was waived one day after returning an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in the 22-17 win at Miami. He also had a team-high nine tackles but wasn't able to lock up a backup spot.

• Cornerback Brandon Dixon, a top backup last year as a rookie, was pushed out as the team agreed to terms with former Pro Bowl corner Tim Jennings on Thursday night.

• Seth Lobato, the No. 3 quarterback, was waived but is likely headed to the practice squad, as last year's third QB, Mike Kafka, did last season.

• Also cut were wide receiver Tavarres King, rookie safety Chris Hackett and linebacker Larry Dean.

Even after the Bucs get to 53 players, they're likely to make more cuts. Their priority position in the waiver claim process allows them to claim any player waived in final cuts, as many as they want.

"We felt early on that we established that we had two drafts," Smith said Friday. "We felt good about the first draft we had. We've been preparing since that first one for this second draft (waiver claims). Again, we are almost on the clock on it, which is a good thing. We are excited about some potential guys added to our team."