Day of shakeups on special teams

December, 1, 2009
12/01/09
6:40
PM ET
We’ve had these over on our news side, but, just in case you missed it, there have been some shakeups on special teams in the NFC South today.

The Falcons released veteran kicker Jason Elam and replaced him with former Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant. The Falcons also release long snapper Bryan Pittman and signed Joe Zelenka to replace him.

The Buccaneers signed punter Sam Paulescu after losing Dirk Johnson to a hamstring injury on a fake punt during Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. Paulescu previously spent some time this season with the Redskins.

The biggest move here is easily Elam. He had been one of the best kickers in the league for years and had a joyful homecoming when he joined the Falcons and returned to his native Georgia last year. But Elam had been struggling with accuracy most of this season and the Falcons made it clear by working out four kickers last week that they were considering alternatives.

Elam struggled again Sunday and that forced the move. Bryant was released by Tampa Bay in an unpopular preseason move. He had been kicking in the United Football League.

One other move that has nothing to do with special teams. The Falcons signed quarterback D.J. Shockley to the practice squad and released tackle Jeremy Clark from the practice squad. Shockley has previously been with the Falcons on the regular roster and the practice squad.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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