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December 13, 2012 @ 4:00 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Barron Looks Forward To Challenge In New Orleans

Written by Haley
Haley Cornish


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Tampa Bay's secondary has been the most picked on unit of the team by both fans and opposing offenses. Sunday's game against New Orleans will give the defensive backs a chance to redeem themselves after allowing Drew Brees to pass for 377 yards and four touchdowns in week seven.
It’s no secret that the Buccaneers secondary is by far the weakest link in their chain. They got torched this past Sunday by a rookie quarterback and were, yet again, unable to finish out a game. While Tampa Bay's seven losses can’t all be blamed solely on the secondary, the majority of the games have ended with their failures.

In the Giants game, the defensive backs gave up over 500 yards and the team was only able to stay in the game because of errant Eli Manning interceptions in the first half. When the Bucs needed a stop at the end of the game, they came up short. Two weeks later against the Redskins, Tampa Bay allowed rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to easily drive down the field setting up the game-winning field goal.

Then, in their first meeting with the Saints, quarterback Drew Brees threw for four touchdowns and over 300 yards in the first half alone. After that tough loss against their division rival, the Bucs went on a four game winning streak but still had terrible issues in the secondary. If it wasn't for the strong play of quarterback Josh Freeman and running back Doug Martin’s breakout performances during that stretch, the Bucs wouldn’t have stood a chance in those games. In fact, the team caught another lucky break in the Chargers game when Philip Rivers threw the worst pass of his career right to cornerback Leonard Johnson. Prior to that, Rivers was having his way with the Tampa Bay's defensive backs.

During the team's three-game losing streak the secondary hit a season low. It is understandable to be unsuccessful against the league’s elite quarterbacks in Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning, but when they gave up nearly 400 yards to rookie Nick Foles it became clear that this secondary has been killed by the loss of Aqib Talib and Eric Wright.

Talib and Wright may not be the greatest cornerbacks in the league, but at least they brought experience. There is no way that duo would have allowed a rookie quarterback to convert on fourth downs and make a game-winning throw they knew was coming. Those players had their troubles over the season, but have excelled against non-elite quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Tony Romo.

But Talib is gone and Wright won’t be back until the final game of the season. E.J. Biggers, who has been criticized for the past couple years, has actually been the bright spot in their secondary and has made some good plays in the past three losses. But young players like Leonard Johnson, Anthony Gaitor, and Mark Barron will need to step it up this week against Drew Brees and the Saints dynamic offense. 

“The quarterbacks are a lot smarter [than they were in college],” Barron said. “They’re able to read defenses better, so there’s a lot more to do as far as disguising and trying not to show your hand.”

Barron has had trouble making the impact plays fans expected him to make going into the season. But people are forgetting that he is still a rookie and is probably being asked to do more because of the weak play at cornerback. When head coach Greg Schiano or defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan are asked about Barron they have nothing but positive things to say and truly believe that he is improving every day and will continue to improve going into next year.

“He is only going to get better,” Sheridan said. “I think some of the things that he sees are new for him. It’s not like he’s seen them for three or four years or seen them for weeks and weeks and weeks coming out of college. He is doing a good job and he is only going to get better.”

Barron will have his work cut out for him this week when he faces Saints Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham missed the last meeting with the Bucs and Barron is really looking forward to finally competing against him.

“I was looking forward to facing him the first time even though he didn’t play,” Barron said. “Once again I’m looking forward to it. I love competition so you know anytime I get to go up against somebody who’s considered to be one of the best I enjoy that.”

Sunday’s game against New Orleans will most likely be another shootout. But if the secondary can make a play, or at least prevent the Saints from making too many plays, then maybe they will get their confidence back up and finish the season strong. If the game comes down to the wire, Tampa Bay's secondary will need to make the play they haven’t made in three weeks. If not, what looked like a successful season for the Bucs could turn out to be another long season-ending losing streak.
Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2012 16:42

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  • avatar

    GMC is still now just finding his way toward actually finishing and making plays, on that score Barron is doing just fine. He may not have made many splash plays but, certainly in the first half of the season when he hit a ball carrier he stopped them in their tracks. I suspect he just hit the rookie wall, easy to believe the way teams are attacking our weak pass defense. He has the talent, is the least of our concerns.
  • avatar

    JonnyG: Lynch was on the bench his rookie year and was nearly cut after an altercation with Herm Edwards. No one is making an excuse for Barron, we all see the lack of major impact; but history shows rookies (even ones drafted in the top 10) develop at different rates. Now if next year he looks like "just another guy" I'll be questioning the pick.
  • avatar

    Its his first year , and the last i checked we have the best rush defence in the NFL, which Barron helps out alot. why do people want everything instantly!!!!! you people moaning are probably the same people moaning about Gruden in his final year. we have the best rush defence and the most potent offence this team has seen in years. Give it time and stop moaning.
  • avatar

    John Lynch wasn;t this bad in his rookie yr so I love the comparison, Lynch always hit like a mac truck but not great in coverage Barron does neither.
  • avatar

    I totally agree with you stlbucfan I am also wondering if he's scared to make a hit like the one on rg3 (should've been no fine on that btw) because he's worried about penelties and fines. He was so much more aggressive playing in bama it's like watching a different player entirely. I'm still a big fan of his and I hope that he goes out there and plays with instinct no more paralysis by analysis
  • avatar

    After the last three games for Drew Brees, this is the perfect game for him. It's just what the doctor ordered .
  • avatar

    I am hardly the casual fan and I know what I should expect. Barron having lapses in coverage or even the occasional blown assignments are a given since he's a rookie. MY complaint is that as a top 10 players there should still be SOME splash plays made. There was a big pass breakup earlier in the year (cant remember against who at the moment) but other than that nothing. I havent seen the big hits, I havent seen the consistent sound tackling and I havent seen sound pass coverage. Harrison Smith a safety drafted later in the first is making a much greater impact on the game so as unfair as the comparison is the bar has been set. Maybe the CBs are the reason he's missing tackles(laughable) or lacking the splash plays on the backend, but as the number 7 pick in the draft I expected more and havent gotten it. Im not ready to call him a bust or run him out of town but I need to hear more of Barrons name on the field as less of it in quotes on PR. Now some of you can continue making excuses for his less than stellar play but he's had two big hits all year one on a QB(RGIII), more blown coverages than I would like to point out and missed tackle after missed tackle. If thats what most of you "expected" then maybe I'm unrealistic. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I'm giving everybody a pass this year. Replacing the entire coaching staff, starting more rookies than any other NFL team, losing essentially our starting O-Line, installing new offensive and defensive schemes, having to rely on a secondary with people I never heard of like Danny Gorrer....I could go on! It really doesn't matter to me what happens in the next 3 games. The players will continue to play to win as they should. But as for me, I've seen enough to know they're headed in the right direction and is a FA and another good draft away from being a contender. I would just as soon have favorable draft position next year!
  • avatar

    It's comical when we fans expect instant success from our rookies yet in our own jobs we recognize it took time and experiences before we developed a comfort level that we actually knew what we're doing. That's why we have interns. I agree that Barron seems hesitant and invisible at times but it's way too early to be so critical to the point of thinking he should decline a five minute interview.
  • avatar

    Barron is going to be a good one. It look Lynch 3 years to figure it out. Same with Ronde (2 yrs actually for him). There are so many holes around him, his head has got to be swimming come game time. He'll pick it up. Can we have a little bit of patience with our super-talented 22 year old rookie? Is that really asking too much?
  • avatar

    Really Mr. I, what is it with these people? The kid is a rookie db in a league that is QB driven, and it's not his fault he's teamed up with some patchwork, late round and undrafted db's, it's a different world for a saftey, you can't just line up and play with instincts, you have a thought process before you react, which in time meshes with instinct once the light comes on and the game slows down, our best db's of all time (Barber & Lynch) both had their struggles in their first COUPLE years when they got playing time, so to even hear the word bust when speaking about Barron is just plain ignorance, the kid will be fine-relax.
  • avatar

    It's got to be a let down for Barron coming from a program where his college Saben, knows more then his pro coach Sheridan.
  • avatar

    I just don't see what a few of you have against Barron? I think he has done quite well considering how weak our CB's have been and Barron has had to play a different role? He is not just the SS, but also the FS because Barber is having to help out the CB's. Barber is really not playing the FS role as much as he is playing more like a starting nickel back. I can see why it can be confusing for a rookie or any DB. Just my opinion.
  • avatar

    I agree STL. I want to type some pretty snide remarks about Barron, but I am holding my finger-tongue, giving him the rest of the season. Show us why we drafted you as we finish the season #24. So far, our last #24 was a much better pick than this one. Hopefully he only needs a little more time to get it figured out, and hey, that is understandable. Just get it done.
  • avatar

    Im glad the someone is looking forward to this matchup against Jimmy Graham. If the Bucs hold the Saints and Drew Brees to anything under 30 points and 300 yards passing it will be a miracle. Im not even sure why anyone not named Ronde Barber from the secondary is even being interviewed by the media.The time Barron wasted doing this interview would have been better served in the film room. GET TO WORK!
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