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July 8, 2013 @ 7:22 am
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New Additions Will Make Barron, Bucs Defense Better

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

Editor-In-Chief E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Bucs safety Mark Barron had an up and down 2012 rookie season. Having veteran Ronde Barber as a teammate most certainly was a benefit but the additions of Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis should make Barron – and the entire defense – much better in 2013.
While we can't say for sure what Buccaneers safety Mark Barron’s personal religious choice is, if he is of the praying variety, the former University of Alabama star most likely says a prayer of thanks for his new teammates when his head hits the pillow each night.

As a rookie in 2012, Barron lined up and learned from the legendary Ronde Barber, one of the better defensive backs in the last decade (or in Barber’s case, decade and a half).
Knowing 2012 was most likely Barber’s last season, as it eventually proved to be, Barron must have felt he won the job lottery last March when the Buccaneers added former San Francisco Pro Bowler Dashon Goldson as his new safety teammate. Then in April, when Tampa Bay pulled off the blockbuster trade with the Jets for Darrelle Revis, Barron had to be as giddy as kid on Christmas Eve.

Barron, who recorded 88 tackles, 17 pass breakups, one forced fumble and one interception in 2012, started the season off with a bang. Against the Carolina Panthers, in the opening game of the 2012 season, Barron delivered a bone-jarring hit on Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith, then in the second half made a potential touchdown-saving pass defense, coming nearly from sideline to sideline to bat away a deep ball from Cam Newton.

A couple weeks later, against the Washington Redskins, Barron wrapped up and planted rookie phenom Robert Griffin III into the green turf of Raymond James Stadium. Although it drew a questionable, 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, the RGIII tackle, and hit the on Smith, served notice that Barron was a physical safety who wasn’t intimidated by neither a veteran superstar receiver, nor an NFL Rookie of the Year contender.

But somewhere along the way Barron seemed to lose some confidence and swagger. The Mobile, Ala. native struggled at times in run defense, and also pass coverage. Part of the struggle may have been the overall troubles the Buccaneers secondary had in defending the pass. While it is easy to assume Barron blew a coverage without the benefit of knowing the exact play call it is impossible to know for sure.

One source told PewterReport.com this offseason that the Buccaneers were pleased with Barron overall, and the mistakes he made were to be expected by a rookie in a struggling defense. The source also agreed with PewterReport.com’s assessment that Barron, at times, tried to be in two places at once. Safeties are faced with split second choices and have to dissect coverages in an instant. Not getting caught in no man’s land is rule No.1 for NFL safeties. Even if the read is wrong, the safety needs to commit 100 percent to an area of the field in most cases. When playing unsure – or trying to cover up a mistake on the front end – it can make a safety look bad, something that happened to Barron several times in 2012, when the rookie appeared to be in between, hesitant and a step behind.

As a rookie, under the tutelage of Barber, Barron did hold his own for the most part. With Goldson and Revis aboard, Barron instantly becomes a better safety. Not only does the addition of the two Pro Bowl defensive backs make Barron and the secondary improved, it should also make the pass rush better which in turn makes the entire defense better.

Barron recently spoke to PewterReport.com about the upcoming 2013 season and what having Goldson and Revis as teammates will mean.

“Knowledge [is what they bring to the table],” Barron said. “Just like with Ronde Barber (last year). There were certain things I wanted to learn from him as far as just studying the game. And I picked up some things from him and now I have two different players I can pick up more things from. I just feel like I am in a great situation where I can learn from different players and pick up a lot of things.”

This season should see Barron make a marked improvement in his play. Not only because of another year in the Bill Sheridan system, but because of a player lined up beside him named Goldson and one in front named Revis. Divine intervention or not, Barron has to feel liked a blessed man.

Last modified on Monday, 08 July 2013 08:48
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  • avatar

    Can't wait for 17th. Can you say TICKETS!!!
  • avatar


    It wasn't until his third year that Lynch's career as an elite safety really took off. I think Barron, with all the help he has gotten from veterans that Lynch did not have, may be able to do it in his second year. I am pulling for him to do so. However, I am no fan of Sheridan, and it may take replacing Sheridan before we get a top 5 defense.
  • avatar

    I think drafting Barron was a great pick for the bucs last year, the best is yet to come. Unfortunately he's not going to run with any WR's (but he does have underrated straight line speed). Look for him to take over Barber's role from last year and let him own the middle of the field (ask jimmy graham lol)- he'll be close to the line of scrimmage in the curl-flat and running with TE's and RB's in coverage. Its hard to look good in coverage as a rookie safety with no CB's with adequate experience. He was one reason we were #1 in run defense (ask darren mcfadden, RG3,etc). We have an extremely young/prime talented core of defensive players- McCoy, David, Barron, Goldson, Revis; and IMO the good news is our pass defense cant get ranked any worse than it was last year so anything at this point is an improvement. They just need time to play together and develop chemistry. We almost swept the falcons last year minus a handful of plays- I think we are drastically underestimated. If bowers, clayborn, and spence ball out this year, we have a legitimate chance at being a top 5 defense.
  • avatar

    Anyone else feel like Barron is really quiet and emotionless? I remember watching him play at Bama and he was an animal in the secondary. But I always wondered if that was a lot because he played with one of the best college defenses ever. We have to remember the Bucs picked him 7 overall and were prepared to take him at 5. That's supposed to be an elite pick and future Pro Bowler. I dont know yet....
  • avatar


    @bucdiezel90 - I think he started well and finished well but in the middle of teh season he was lost...he wasn't used to teams throwing for 400 yards against and it probably got to him and Sheridan and he ended up back in coverage on WRs....that was not good as he's a Strong Safety...strictly. I think he can be an elite SS but he needs players around him who can handle the WRs...I for one think Goldson and Revis are those players...at the very least they are a big step up from last year.
  • avatar

    I love Barber to death but to be honest, no one is talking about how it was his first year at Safety last year. It had to be hard showing Barron the ropes about safety when you are learning yourself. Barron will most certainly benefit from having a veteran Safety next to him, one who has manned the position for a few years. I commend Barber though, he is a HOFer, a true leader, and would do anything for the team. If anything rubbed off on Barron from Barber, I would hope that it was his professionalism on and off the field!
  • avatar


    Yeah, Barron picked up something big from Revis already,like 50 grand for the # 24!
  • avatar


    Would like to see the Buc's build a D like we had years ago. IMO Sheridan might not be the man for the job. If Freeman can have a good year and we get a pass rush we might be able to do some damage. That seems like a lot of wishful thinking.
  • avatar


    wasn't...either...or // was...neither...nor // pick one -- "wasn't...neither...nor" is just wrong.
  • avatar


    Thanks Mark. I also expect a better year from Barron - not because he will have improved his playmaking (although I suspect he will to a certain degree) but mainly because he will be able to play the type of Safety he is built to play - Strong Safety. Instead of getting beat in coverage against WRs, which happened a fair bit (the nice play against Newton in game 1 aside - although I believe that was against their TE too), Barron will be the safety in the box and Goldson will be the guy in coverage. Barron can play against TEs as he showed against Gonzales in the last game - just leave the WRs to Goldson.
  • avatar


    I expect that Barron will be very impressive this season because he now has a very good Safety next to him. No offense to Barber, but he was helping the Corner more times than his actual Safety territory and Barron at times had to cover a much bigger area because of that. I thought he played well last year and we got great value from him in his rookie season. Now if we improve our Pass Rush, we will have a good defensive team and that should keep us in the game so the offense can score more.
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