Twelve days before the regular season opener, the Bucs had three place-kickers at practice Tuesday — Kyle Brindza, a rookie from Notre Dame who arrived in a trade a day earlier from the Lions in exchange for tight end Tim Wright; Connor Barth, the most reliable kicker in team history who was cut by the Broncos last week; and Patrick Murray, the second-year pro who took Barth's job a year ago but quickly is losing his grip on the gig.
Barth missed his only field goal attempt, from 43 yards, in Saturday's loss to the Browns.
Barth, 29, is an 85.3 percent field goal kicker. His career was derailed in 2013, when he tore his Achilles playing in a charity basketball game. He felt pretty good about things after signing a two-year, $2.75 million contract last week. Then Brindza showed up. "If I don't miss a field goal (Saturday), maybe it's a different story," he said.
Brindza, 22, would seem to have a leg up on Barth and Murray in this competition. With the Lions, he was perfect on three field goals, connecting from 41, 49 and 51 yards, and made both extra points. Just as important, seven of his eight kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. In an emergency, Brindza could also punt. Barth owners were at least relieved their kicker had a job after getting cut by Denver but that may not be the case again by the start of the season.