Veteran free safety Ronde Barber was visibly frustrated when discussing the Buccaneers' 23-21 loss to the Eagles following the game on Sunday. Barber carefully explained exactly why he thought Tampa Bay lost and where the problems lie as the Bucs have lost three straight games.
Veteran Ronde Barber has seen his fair share of losing in his 16-plus NFL seasons. There certainly have been losses that hurt more, or had more of an impact, but maybe none were more frustrating for Tampa Bay’s veteran safety than Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the 4-9 Philadelphia Eagles.
Following Sunday’s game, Barber stood in front of his locker and tried to be as politically correct as possible, but anyone who has covered Barber knows how much more he wanted to say. Even with Barber biting his tongue, the words were direct and to the point.
“They made more plays than we did, we didn’t get off the field, and we had some lapses in coverage,” Barber said. “Give them credit. A rookie quarterback went out and executed on two two-minutes drives better than we did on defense.”
Barber, who has never been disrespectful or confrontational with the media, had to carefully choose his words at times when asked if the Buccaneers might have overlooked the Eagles, who had eight straight losses prior to Sunday's win.
“This is the NFL,” Barber said. “I don’t give a damn if they are 3-9 or 6-6. They have been playing good for their coach and it has been showing up on film every week. I don’t think anyone was shocked or not expecting them to play their butts off for their coach the last four games of the season. I don’t want to hear it. That is a chicken … that is a terrible question. How about, they (the Eagles) play football (too).”
Barber squarely placed the blame for Sunday’s loss on his unit – the defensive backs – who gave up 381 yards and two touchdowns to rookie QB Nick Foles, who was making his fourth NFL start. Foles completed eight passes of 20 yards or more against the Bucs secondary, which consisted of Barber, E.J. Biggers, rookies Mark Barron and Leonard Johnson, second-year players Anthony Gaitor and Ahmad Black and backup cornerback Danny Gorrer. Jeremy Maclin led the way for Philadelphia with nine catches for 104 yards and the game-winning touchdown on the final play, and Avant had 133 yards on seven catches.
“It’s the NFL man,” Barber said. “We have to have guys go out and make plays when it matters. (We have to have) guys who step up and do their job better than the guys across from you. And to be very frank, we haven’t done that. Plenty of reasons for it, but I don’t care to get into them. We’re not good enough right now – especially on the back end (the secondary) – to win games like this. It is very frustrating. But at the same time, we will keep moving, see if we can get better in a week to go try and beat New Orleans.”
Barber was also very blunt when answering the final question he took from the media about him being a part of the 2002 Super Bowl championship team, which was celebrating its 10-year reunion at halftime of Sunday's game.
“It is a great honor to be a part of that team, but it had nothing to do with the product on the field [today]," Barber said. "So no, it doesn’t hurt and more or any less. It’s 2012. That was 10 years ago. And they celebrated it rightfully, but it has nothing to do with this 2012 team.”– Scott Reynolds contributed to this story
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