Kicker Competition

When the Dolphins called Connor Barth to come in for a workout Monday, he figured that's all that would happen, so he just put some clothes in a backpack for a quick trip. But Barth is still around four days later, and it's not out of the realm of possibilities that he could be here for a while longer.

Dan Carpenter beat out veteran Jay Feely for the kicking job last year and had a pretty solid rookie season, but he's still not a totally established kicker in the NFL and the truth is he has not kicked well this summer.

So while Carpenter remains on course to be the Dolphins placekicker again this year, Barth clearly represents some competition.

For Barth, it's another chance to prove he can kick in the NFL.

"The big thing for me," Barth said, "is it's going to be good to get some film in the preseason and have other teams look at me because that's what's going to be the big thing, is just kind of getting some film out there and still seeing that I can kick."

Barth had been out of the NFL since June when he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs.

On one hand, his release was a bit surprising considering he made 10 of 12 field goals last year as a rookie out of North Carolina, but then again the Chiefs did spend a seventh-round pick on Ryan Succop in the 2009 draft.

The ironic part of the Kansas City situation is that Succop and Barth are friends.

"It's the NFL, it's a competitive business and that's the nature of the beast," Barth said of being released by the Chiefs. "You've got to go out there every day and compete. Maybe if I was 12-for-12, maybe it would have been different, but I missed two kicks and they were two very big kicks. I missed a game-winner in the San Diego game. It's just part of the game, you've just got to keep moving forward.

"Ultimately, Kansas City wasn't my destination. God has a plan for me somewhere and obviously it wasn't in Kansas City. Ryan is a good buddy of mine; I'm looking forward to watching him kick. ... We're good buddies, all I can do is wish him the best because he's got a great opportunity in Kansas City. They just wanted to go a different way; I respect their decision. I'm just glad to be down here with the Dolphins."

Barth said he had been kicking about three times a week on his own before the Dolphins called.

According to Barth, a couple of teams had expressed an interest in him, but nobody brought him in for a workout until the Dolphins did.

"It's just an opportunity, that's how I see it," Barth said. "I've been practicing my whole life to do this, all through high school, through college and the pros. Luckily, going through training camp last year, there were three guys in OTAs and I had to compete every day. And they brought two guys to training camp and I had to compete there, so it kind of all got me ready for what I was doing, because I knew as a kicker a lot of times it takes a couple of times to get in.

"For me, it's just an opportunity to go out and show the teams what I can do, because it's not only a tryout for the Dolphins, it's also a tryout for every other team in the league. It's just a good opportunity to be out here."

From the Dolphins' perspective, bringing in Barth is all about creating competition and trying to make the team.

"Obviously what we want to do here is, one of the things I believe wholeheartedly in, and I think, you know so does Jeff (Ireland), is just competition at all positions if we can get it," said Head Coach Tony Sparano. "And, quite honestly, I mean, I (saw) Carpenter compete against a pretty good player last year, so I want to bring a little bit more competition in here and see him compete a little bit more here.

"This kid (Carpenter), he really did it in a big way for us last year, and he likes competition, so we brought competition in to kind of fuel that fire a little bit and see what we get. You know, at the end of this, he made the team last year over a veteran, so there's nothing written in stone out here on this practice field."

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