Just three days following Connor Barth resigning with the Buccaneers, both Barth and Patrick Murray missed important field goal attempts, ending with a 31 to 7 loss at the Raymond James Stadium playing against the Cleveland Browns.
In response, competition at kicker intensified Monday when tight end TE Tim Wright was traded to the Lions for rookie player Kyle Brindza. The Buccaneers decision came nearly a year to the day that Wright was traded to the Patriots for Logan Mankins who plays left guard. In each of the last two years, Wright has been traded by the Buccaneers prior to the final preseason game.
However, this latest move was primarily done out of necessity since Murray had a good performance out of just two of five field goal attempts made this season, having just one missed attempt out of five for extra points. Meanwhile, the 44-yard missed attempt by Barth on Saturday was his first during preseason. He was beat out last year by Murray who hit on 83.3% of field goals.
Even though Brindza is a rookie, he performed well on his three field goal attempts. As part of this was a 51-yard, not to mention his two PATs in preseason. Along with this, Brindza drove seven out of eight kickoffs into the end zone that resulted in touchbacks. However, another benefit to brining Brindza onboard is his punting ability. Prior to the trade, he completed three punts for the Lions with three dropping inside the 20-yard line. On average, the punts were 49.3 yards although the longest sailed an impressive 54 yards.
While not confirmed, some experts feel strongly that Joseph Fauria who plays tight end will be the next. Considering the Lions still have Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron in the position, it is unlikely the team will keep four tight ends on this season’s roster.
Unfortunately, the future for Fauria looks bleak since Pettigrew will not go anywhere considering he is the best blocking tight end for the team and strong in passing. On the other hand, Ebron who was the 2014 first round pick is a great all-around athlete so seeing the Lions let him go is hard to imagine. Therefore, with missed games and injuries, Fauria appears to have a less secure future.