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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs constant change at kicker takes new twist

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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The weird, and at times comical, kicking situation for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continues to take twists and turns. And the latest one involves, wait for it, the signing Thursday of a European kicker who kicked professionally last year in the German Football League.

Denmark born Philip Andersen kicked for the Berlin Rebels of the German Football League a year ago making 16 of 25 field goals. However, he apparently was impressive during workouts at former Buccaneer kicker Michael Husted’s kicking camp in the United States. Then earlier this week, he kicked for Buccaneers GM Jason Licht, his new special teams coach, Keith Armstrong and others at the Bucs facility and was offered a contract.

As we have repeatedly written, the Bucs have had a revolving door of kickers over the course of the last few years with seven different Bucs kicking since 2014.

This included, famously drafting former Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft only to cut him in the preseason of 2017 after a series of missed extra points in fuel goals.

Last year, Tampa Bay went with veteran Chandler Catanzaro, whom they gave a $3 million guaranteed salary, but also cut him in November after he missed two critical field goals at home in a loss to the Redskins. The Bucs turned to veteran free agent Cairo Santos (above), who was solid, but is not signed for 2019.

There is further speculation that recently released 43 year old Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, who kicked for the Bucs earlier in the 2000s, may become an option. Bryant is one of the most successful and accurate kickers in the NFL over the last 10 years. However, Atlanta released him Tuesday saving over $2 million for their the salary cap.

Bryant has expressed that he wants to continue to play and the natural tie-in is the former Falcons special-teams coach, Armstrong now being with the Buccaneers. He did miss three games a year ago after injuring his hamstring kicking a final field goal in the last minute of a game, ironically against the Bucs, in Atlanta’s win in October over Tampa Bay.

Another factor is that Bryant has not kicked off in Atlanta for years. The team instead has used the stronger leg of punter / specialist Matt Bosher to kickoff.

Back to the Dane, Andersen, he is apparently no relation to Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen, who kicked for 25 years in the NFL mostly with the Saints and the Falcons. That Andersen was an outstanding 80% for his career in field goals making a staggering 565 of them.

There is also an eyeball raising part of Philip Andersen’s bio in that: he has kicked for four professional teams in the German Football League already. Then again, Licht and the Buccaneers have shipped kickers in and out over the course of the last few years at the same rate.

By the way, our Roy Cummings approves of the move from a “heritage standpoint.”

It really won’t be known until at least March when the Bucs elect to re-sign Santos or not, or elect to sign Matt Bryant and bring him in, as to what kind of competition will go against Andersen.

Tampa Bay could obviously bring in another veteran kicker, and, we are going to write it: maybe draft one in the late rounds this time of the upcoming April draft, too.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs pass rusher Barrett named NFC Defensive Player of Week

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Off their impressive Road win last Thursday night against division rival Carolina, the Buccaneers also got an individual accolades on Wednesday morning.

That’s when the NFL announced that edge pass-rusher Shaq Barrett had been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week:

Barrett had a tremendous game, or should we say third quarter specificall,  in the win over the Panthers. This as, he registered not one, but three quarterback sacks, in the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s 20 – 14 victory.

Barrett became the first Buccaneer since Simeon Rice in their Super Bowl season of 2002 to have that many sacks in a single 15 minute period. He’s also the first Bucs pass rusher to get three sacks in a single game since the 2015 season.

Barrett also had a sack in Tampa Bay’s week one loss against San Francisco and obviously, leads them now with four of them through the first two games. The four sacks in two games has matched the best start in sacking the QB in Buccaneers franchise history.

The last time the Bucs had a defensive player win player of the week honors, was also 2015. That’s when linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander each took home the honor in separate weeks.

The six year veteran came to Tampa Bay after having spent his first five years with the Denver Broncos. This included his being part of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 winning season of 2014.

Barrett had 14 career sacks coming into this season and is already thriving early in new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ defense. The Bucs are pairing him on the outside with Carl Nassib in Bowles’ 3-4 scheme.

He is also the former Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year at Colorado State, where he had 12 sacks and three forced fumbles in his senior season and was eventually signed with Denver, as an undrafted free agent.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs coach Arians rightfully fearing Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of the Giants starting rookie Daniel Jones at quarterback on Sunday, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians knows the real key for New York resides deeper in their backfield.

That’s where second-year running back Saquon Barkley is expected to be busy, especially early in the game. And, he may very well be the reason or not that New York has a chance to get their first win of the season Sunday in Tampa.

Arians made it clear right away at his Tuesday press conference that Barkley will be a challenge for a Buccaneer defense that has been stingy so far this year against the run:

“He’s got more 50-yard runs than anybody I’ve seen in a long time,” Arians said.  “He’s hard to bring down. He doesn’t run over many people – he runs around them and runs past them. The size and the speed combination are extremely rare.”

The Bucs held the 49ers in check for just 77 yards on the ground in their opening loss two weekends ago, but then, played even better against Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers running attack last Thursday night. They held McCaffrey to only 37 yards on 16 carries, including the biggest moment of the game. That’s when DB Vernon Hargreaves stopped McCaffrey one-on-one from getting the one needed yard to keep Carolina’s final drive alive and hopes of winning the game.

As for Barkley, he comes off a tremendous debut season with a 1,300 yards rushing and another 700 receiving. He’s arguably the best dual threat back in football.

And, with a 120 yd rush game on just 11 carries in the opening week game at Dallas, Barkley followed up with another 100 yard game last week against Buffalo registering 107 yards on 18 carries. Still, the Giants dropped both games and at 0- 2 and have decided to shake it up at QB.

Giants second-year coach Pat Shurmur will try to establish the run early on in the game to take the pressure off his rookie quarterback making his debut.

The Bucs know that as well and looked at stuff to run with Pro Bowl veteran Ndamukong Suh and former first-round pick Vita Vea. Both guys have been big keys in clogging up the middle and helping the Buccaneers stop the 49er and Panther backs.

And if they do so Sunday at home, it will be a big key for a second straight win.

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