Buccaneers auditioning new kickers after Brindza’s continued struggles
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Kyle Brindza has missed his last kick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The young kicker’s struggles the past two weeks cost him his job Monday, a day after the rookie from Notre Dame missed two field-goal attempts and an extra point during a 37-23 loss to NFC South rival Carolina.
Brindza also missed three field goals and an extra point the previous week in a 10-point loss at Houston, making him 2 of 7 on field goal tries with two missed extra points against the Panthers and Texans.
The Bucs (1-3) will look at potential replacements Tuesday and sign Brindza’s successor before practice Wednesday.
Tampa Bay hosts Jacksonville (1-3) on Sunday.
"Kyle has a strong leg. But in our league points are valuable. You can’t miss five out of seven field goals and two extra points. We just can’t afford to be in that position anymore," coach Lovie Smith said. "We saw something we didn’t like two weeks ago. Yesterday’s game told us what direction we need to go."
Smith, who is 3-17 since taking over the sputtering Bucs, said he had no regrets about giving Brindza a second chance after the rookie misfired on an extra point, as well as field-goal attempts of 41, 33 and 57 yards against Houston.
On Sunday, Brindza was booed loudly after a 29-yard try hit the right upright and the kicker appeared to slip on the rain-slickened grass before hooking a 43-yard attempt. The kicks — one just before halftime and other early in the third quarter — came with the Bucs trailing 17-10.
"He deserved another shot. I don’t think you move on from a player based on one performance," Smith said, defending the decision to not release Brindza after the struggles against the Texans.
"But when you see it becoming a trend, going a certain way," the coach added, "then you have to react to it."
Brindza, obtained from Detroit in a trade before the final preseason game, was 6 for 12 on field goals in four games, with a long of 58 yards against the Texans. He was 6 of 8 on extra points.
Smith didn’t blame Brindza’s woes on added pressure placed on kicker by new NFL rules moving extra-point tries back to the 15-yard line, essentially making them the equivalent of 33-yard field goal attempts.
"I did not think it would have this type of impact. I thought moving back to the 15, it’s still a fairly short field goal to make," the coach said.
"Now it’s really being discussed and we’re talking an awful lot about the kickers, putting more pressure on them each week. … We unfortunately really have to deal with it," Smith added. "We can deal with the extra point a little bit better. We can go for two more, but eventually you have to be able to make some field goals, and we’ll find someone to do that."
The Bucs also waived wide receiver Adam Humphries. The rookie had two catches for 14 yards in four games.