Aug 29, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Patrick Murray (7) misses a field goal against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Cleveland Browns defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kicker: Patrick Murray, Connor Barth & Kyle Brindza
This battle is exciting because its three players fighting for one spot. And not only are they fighting for a starting gig, but a roster spot as well; the two kickers who lose out on the job will definitely be cut on Saturday.
When training camp started I don’t think anyone was questioning whether Patrick Murray would be the Bucs starting kicker or not. He made 20 of his 24 FGAs in 2014 and never missed an extra point. However, he has struggled this preseason going 2/5 on FGs and missing one extra point.
The Bucs brought back Connor Barth, who was the team’s starting kicker from 2009-2012, last week to compete with Murray. He missed his only FGA against the Browns, leaving the Bucs still searching for answers at kicker.
And just this week the Bucs traded TE Tim Wright to the Detroit Lions for yet another kicker, Kyle Brindza, a rookie out of Notre Dame. Brindza hasn’t missed a FG or PAT yet in the preseason so it appears he may be the favorite to win the Bucs starting job, despite just joining the team.
Brindza and Barth will certainly each get a chance to show off their leg talent on Thursday night, but Murray may be sidelined with an injury. Head Coach Lovie Smith wouldn’t say on Tuesday whether or not Murray would play. vs. the Dolphins.
Murray has probably already sealed his fate, though. The Bucs showed they were happy with him by bringing in two kickers over the last week. Coach Smith said he was surprised by Murray’s poor play, but noted that they have to have accuracy from the kicking position. Unless Brindza melts down on Thursday night, I think he ends up kicking for the Bucs this year.