Do you remember when some of your favorite characters came back to your favorite TV shows? Like when Michael Scott returned to the Office for the series finale? Or when Luke returned to General Hospital? I'm in no way stating I like General Hospital, but the point is this:
Connor Barth returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a good thing.
Let's face it. Kyle Brindza just didn't pan out. He missed 50% of his field goals, including a particularly bad Sunday, where he missed two field goals and an extra point in the Bucs 37-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Brindza has been a marked man for weeks, and despite the loyalty of his coach, you knew it was just a matter of time before a switch would be made.
Lovie Smith does not regret giving Brindza an extra game to prove himself.
"Absolutely not. I mean, he deserved another shot," Smith told the Tampa Bay Times. "I don't think you move on from a player based on one performance. But when you see it becoming a trend, going a certain way, then you have to react to it. And that was the case. Kyle has a strong leg. But in our league, you know, points are valuable."
While most fans are happy to see Barth back, the reason for his return is this: he gives them the best shot at improving the special teams at this point. Last year, in limited action with the Denver Broncos, he hit 15 of 16 field goals and 15 of 15 of his extra points. However, with the signing of Evan Mathis, the Broncos decided to let Barth go.
In his last full season with the Buccaneers in 2012, Barth made 28 of his 33 field goals, including 12-13 from 40-49 yard range, and 6-9 from 50-59. He hit all of his extra points that year, and had an 84.8 field goal accuracy rate, which isn't too bad considering that last year's kicker, Patrick Murray, had similar stats.
The only question in Barth's kicking game is, how will his achilles tendon hold up? He missed the entire 2013 season and most of 2014 because of it. The Buccaneers should be wary of this, and maybe keep an extra kicker on the roster just in case something happens.
Anybody got Billy Cundiff's number on file?
Despite the questions about the achilles, fans are excited, as is Barth. I predict he will stay healthy for the remainder of the year, and help Tampa's kicking game considerably. I can see him making 20-25 field goals easily and most of his extra points. He is a talented kicker who deserves this chance to shine.
Party on, Barth.