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April 18, 2012 @ 6:58 pm
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Barber Willing To Play Anywhere He's Needed

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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After 15 seasons in the NFL fan-favorite Ronde Barber is learning a new position. But listening to Barber describe it the transition shouldn't be difficult.
Heading into his 16th season in the NFL there isn’t a whole lot veteran Ronde Barber hasn’t seen or done. But lining up at safety is a somewhat new experience for the five-time Pro Bowler. Talking to reporters following Wednesday’s second day of mini-camp Barber spoke about the move.

“I am fitting where needed, currently,” Barber said. “They know I can play corner. They know I can play inside. I am where there is a loose spot right now. Which I am all right with right now. It is good. It is fun. A lot to learn, but it is good.”

Barber was asked specifically what the most difficult part of the transition will be.

“There is no transition,” Barber said. “What I have done so far in this camp is really no different than me playing down in the box all those years. I have done some half-field stuff and some whole stuff before so it is not much of a transition. It is just slowing my feet down from corner feet to safety feet. It is a little bit of a learning curve in the verbiage and the assignments, but nothing that I can’t handle if need be.”

When asked about the style of defense the Buccaneers will play under new head coach Greg Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, Barber was coy with his response.

“I know what it is going to be, but I am not going to tell you,” Barber said. “A defense is defense. There are only so many ways to peel an orange now and we have run variations of this in the past. Obviously the way they call it is going to be completely different. It is definitely going to be aggressive. We will be able to do a lot more things with some of our disguises with what he has in right now, but again we have only been in two days with this deal. I don’t know what is left. We will see.

“It is going to be a steady learning process. Quick leaves out the details. We have a lot of details to hammer down. We will be ready when Carolina comes in here at the beginning of the season.”

Schiano spoke about Barber’s ability to play any defensive back position after Wednesday’s practice.

“In my short time with Ronde (Barber) he is the epitome of a pro football player,” Schiano said. “Having coached in this league even though it was 15 years ago I remember it [and] I had the opportunity to ... and Ronde was one of those guys. There was a play yesterday that was kind of an everyday play that you could go through the motions or you could really—and he did it like a rookie trying to impress the coaching staff. That to me is what a true pro is. He is trying to perfect his craft. I like what I see out there. I don’t know if that’s where he will stay or not. I really like the way he is attacking it and I think he can do it. You know in the scheme we play I think he can do it. Some would worry about his size, [but] I don’t worry about it.”


Last modified on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 19:08
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  • avatar

    If Ronde were a rookie, I'd say it would be crazy for him to play safety, let alone at the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, he's already played many, many, many snaps at the position already (blitzing, deep coverage, in the box, etc). Its a natural and he'll be phenomenal, I have no doubt. He might be the best open field, perfect form tackler on the team. Lot's of bigger, faster athletes can make bigger hits, but Ronde brings his man DOWN. I'll even go one step further: For a couple more years, I see no reason he can't be our version of Polamalu on defense. I then say we go ahead and add Claiborne (I won't be heart-broken if he's gone and we HAVE to take Richardson, but I think our line can produce enough of a run game at this point without him). Ronde is smart and he has heart. The stat sheets call him 5'10" and 185 lbs, for the record. In this particular case, however, in homage to the fallen Raheem: Stats are for losers.
  • avatar

    write it down this is going to be your safety this yr, he plays the position like a strong safety already, he's always in the box against the run I say bravo on this move should have been done a few yrs back
  • avatar


    I suspect this is not much more than an off-season experiment.
  • avatar


    Love Rhonde's "Can Do" Attitude. He should be the starting Strong Safety come this fall. Talib and Claiborne should be the starting CBs, and Wright has played Nickel Corner before and should get on the field that way (until Talib loses his trial or is suspended by the League). Keeping Rhonde at Safety will fulfill Shiano's goal of keeping the best players on the field. i share the belief that Black will be a successful Safety for the Bucs too, but this year Shiano should have Black learn from Rhonde and play about a third of each game in relief of Rhonde to keep him fresh and not put too much strain on him. Asante I know will be a hard hitter, but I don't know if he is a playmaker. Mark my words, Black one day will be a star for the Bucs and will be a big playmaker just like Rhonde when he was younger. Black's production with the Gators shows that! Also, though, Black can also play CB too since that was his position at Lakeland in High School. So if Talib goes to jail, Claiborne and Wright will be the starters and Black could play the Nickel, if the Bucs haven't taught E.J. Biggers how to tackle aggressively and get interceptions by then. Biggers already knows how to cover.
  • avatar


    Owlykat, I don't know what BUCS games you were watching where E.J. Biggers could cover. IMO, he single handedly lost at least 3 games for us. He is THE worst BUCS defender I have seen in my 20 years of being a BUCS fan. I'm sorry but I hope Biggers gets cut at some point. I am assuming the only thing he has going for himself is, well, nothing. It can't be his production or skills. I am now a Richardson guy but in one regard if they draft Mo Claiborne that would mean no more Biggers : ) I am glad to see Ronde possibly playing safety, it is an interesting scenario. This could add a dynamic dimension to the D. The past two seasons it seemed as though the back end of the D was just all over the place and just when we had plays contained they would go over the top and downfield. If he ends up playing there, although long in the tooth, he will add smart play as well as good tackling.
  • avatar

    I made the suggestion a few months back and I'm glad to see them see the light. You need a guy at safety who can first and foremost TACKLE...check, you need a guy who can read the QB and make a play for the ball...check, you need a guy who you can bring into the box and snuff the run or sack the QB....check, you need a guy at safety who can lead and read the offense....check! So it is was a no brainer for them to make this move, specially as his legs begin to age. The best safety of all time, Ronnie Lott only weighed 203lbs not much more than Barber. I hope they keep him there, this should get interesting.
  • avatar

    i just hope we draft richardon. boykin from georgia could be just what we need for the nickel if ronde stays at safety
  • avatar

    Is it too farfetched to think Ronde could really make a Pro Bowl at FS this season if he were to do so? I trully believe he has the same if not better vision than Ed Reed, although not quiet as fast. But he is a better tackler and blitzer too. Things could get interesting...
  • avatar

    Barber has been playing safety over the past few years already. I don't think he'll be the starting safety day 1, but I do believe he will continue to get a lot of time playing that position with some of the nickel sets, esp if we draft Claiborne. I could see Talib and Claiborne on the outside with Wright playing the Nickel and Ronde playing safety. He covered a lot of TE's last year, and they may intend to use the safety position to do that this year with Ronde. Like Schiano said, how do we get the best 11 players on the field at all times. We may see Asante and Black playing more during the run D downs. even though Barber is an amazing tackler, I still think he would be best suited covering TE's when he plays safety. That being said, I hope Black and Asante don't make it easy for him to steal the position, I think these guys really need to step up and I believe they can play!
  • avatar


    I have wanted Ronde to play safety for the past three years!! I hope this happens. I think wth his instincts and ability to tackle so well he should be able to be a very good safety in this league.
  • avatar

    This guy makes it easy to be a Buc fan. Go Rhonde! Go Bucs!
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