While the team around him finished dreadfully slow last year, losing 10 straight to cap a forgettable 4-12 season, Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth finished fast.
One of the few bright spots in a season so gloomy it sparked an overhaul of the coaching staff and the culture inside One Buc Place, Barth made good on each of his last 15 field goals in 2011.
Barth has remained consistent through the start of the 2012 season, making good on each of his five field-goal tries to stretch his team record and active NFL-best streak of consecutive field goals to 20.
The streak also helped push Barth ahead of James Wilder and into sixth place on the Bucs' all-time scoring list with 280 points. In a strange sort of way, Bucs coach Greg Schiano is responsible for that, Barth said.
"Coach Schiano does a great job with me in practice,'' Barth said. "He'll mess with me during the field goal periods, pulling at my socks, talking to me the whole time. He did that all through training camp, too.
"And you know what? It's made it a lot easier on me once I really get out there in a game and have to kick because there's no one really talking to you or bugging you out there the way he does. …"I'm like, 'Would you just get out of my head and let me kick?'' But it's actually made things easier for me in the games.''
A lot of head coaches leave kickers alone because they don't have any idea of the mechanics involved in their craft. Some have even been known to dislike kickers or take them for granted, but Schiano has nothing but appreciation for Barth.
"I don't ever take what he's doing for granted,'' Schiano said. "I'm just thrilled about the job he's doing, and he is a weapon. Certainly, we want to score by sixes and not threes, but when you don't score by six, it's nice to get three.''
Barth has 20 points this season, but it will be a while before he moves up to the next spot on the team's scoring list. Ahead of him in fifth place is former kicker Donald Igwebuike, who accounted for 416 points.
Slow motion rewind
The news this week of the passing of NFL Films president Steve Sabol helped conjure some childhood memories for Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, who said Sabol's use of slow motion enhanced details of the game the naked eye can't see.
"My dad had one of those old VHS tapes of the football follies and I remember being a kid and watching that highlight tape all the time and being amazed at what I saw,'' McCoy said.
"The guy slowed everything down and made everything look good. You'd see Barry Sanders spinning off guys and guys falling on their heads and stuff. And I can remember, thinking, 'Man, I don't want that to happen to me.' ''
RB LeGarrette Blount has played only a handful of downs this season. While Schiano has made no promises of an increased role for the third-year power back, he isn't exactly ruling one out, either.
"I think he will (get a heavier workload),'' Schiano said. "But I don't want to sit here and tell you that's the way it's going to unfold. I hope that's the way it unfolds.''
Schiano intended to make greater use of Blount a week ago against the Giants, he said, but lead back Doug Martin never reached a point where he was winded and required a break.