Connor Barth Cash Cut May Cost Bucs WinsSeptember 3rd, 2014
When the Bucs decided to keep untested Patrick Murray over veteran Connor Barth, it raised quite a few eyebrows among Bucs fans. Actually, it shouldn’t have.
As Joe noted in training camp, the Bucs had brought in a Pro Bowl kicker for a tryout. You don’t normally do that in training camp unless a coach or general manager is unhappy or unsettled on what the incumbent kicker is doing. Or isn’t doing.
So when the Bucs waved bye-bye to Barth, in the eyes of the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, Bucs coach Lovie Smith may also have been waving bye-bye to two wins.
In short, Kaufman has no confidence in unproven kickers on the NFL level. He bluntly stated the departure of Barth was nothing more than a cash move, so he told former Bucs defensive linemen Booger McFarland and Steve White during an appearance on WHFS-FM 98.7.
“Before Connor Barth ruptured his Achilles, gentlemen, I believe he was a top-10 kicker in this league,” Kaufman said. “Very, very reliable from middle-distance. His range had gotten a lot better. All of a sudden he was making 53-yarders. Look, there is no question about it, Booger. Anyone who has listened to Lovie Smith’s press conferences this year shouldn’t have been shocked. Anytime someone brought up Mike Koenen and Connor Barth, he threw in a little bit of an aside like, ‘Yeah, and they have the contracts to back them up, too.’
“[Lovie] was always making remarks about how much money those two were making. And you are right; it wasn’t anything like Murray outperformed Conner Barth. That wasn’t the case. If it was close; they were going with the younger, cheaper alternative. It’s a dangerous, a very dodgy move. Look, guys, we saw what happened with [Rian] Lindell. It was an emergency move, and he missed some good field goals. These little guys win you or lose you two games a year.
“If you are going to cut corners, that was a bad place to cut.”
Especially for a team that seems to be predicated on winning close games.
The Flat Earth Society of Bucs fans, those who naively believe a team can win without a quarterback jump up and down about how the Bucs defense can be great. When the Bucs have the ball, this crowd goes to the bathroom or stands in the beer line. What’s the use of offense when you have a solid defense, they say? Joe agrees the defense should be strong.
But a major part of that kind of defensive mentality is converting field goals. To the Flat Earth Society and their twisted math, field goals are more important than touchdowns and second only to a suffocating defense. So Lovie, being a defensive kind of a guy, is really taking a gamble with an untested kicker — and an unproven quarterback.