Former Chiefs K Connor Barth was good on 10 of 12 field goal attempts last season, including his first nine tries as a pro
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have changed kickers for a second time in 2009.
In is Connor Barth, a second-year pro who turned in a strong 10 games with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. Out is Shane Andrus, who attempted only one field goal during his three games with the team.
The Buccaneers made those roster moves early Tuesday afternoon, hours after also signing cornerback Mike Mickens off the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad. While Mickens, a rookie seventh-rounder out of Cincinnati, may need some time to work up the Bucs' depth chart, Barth obviously has an opportunity to make an immediate impact.
The 23-year-old Barth (5-11, 193) was a standout at the University of North Carolina, known for both his accuracy and a booming leg on kickoffs. He originally joined Kansas City in 2008 as an undrafted free agent and battled veteran Nick Novak for the Chiefs' kicking job last summer. Novak won the job to begin the season but was released and replaced by Barth after six games.
Barth made the most of his 10-game opportunity last year, converting 10 of 12 field goal attempts and all 24 extra point tries. He made his first nine attempts as a pro and also hit 31 of his 46 kickoffs inside the 10 or in the end zone, leading to four touchbacks.
The Chiefs once again set up a battle for the kicking job this past summer, bringing Barth and rookie seventh-round pick Ryan Succop to training camp. Succop won the job and Barth, after being released, was subsequently signed by the Miami Dolphins on August 10. Incumbent Dan Carpenter held on to his Dolphins job, however, and Barth was released by Miami on August 29.
The Buccaneers have struggled to get good results out of their kicking game this season. They, too, went to camp with two players battling for the job, with free agent Mike Nugent and veteran holdover Matt Bryant as the two competitors. The competition never properly emerged, however, as Bryant struggled with leg injuries in August and was eventually released.
Nugent held the Bucs' job for just four games, however, as he converted just two of six opportunities in that span. Andrus, who had spent four training camps with the Indianapolis Colts trying in vain to supplant Adam Vinatieri, was signed to take Nugent's spot on October 5. Andrus scored six points in three games, all on extra points, but was called on to attempt just one field goal, a 43-yard try against Carolina on Oct. 18. The kick was short. Andrus also kicked off 10 times in that span, hitting just one into the end zone for a touchback.
In 47 games at North Carolina, Barth succeeded on 54 of 71 field goal tries (76.1%), setting a school record for most three-pointers. As a senior in 2007, he was good on 19 of 22 tries (86.4%) and was named the kicker on the All-ACC first-team. He made four field goals from beyond 50 yards during his Tar Heel tenure, including a career-best 54-yarder against North Carolina State in 2007.
Barth played his prep ball in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was a high-school All-America choice by USA Today.