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Mark Barron just won’t let bygones be bygones.

After the Bucs shipped Barron, their first-round pick in 2012, to St Louis in 2014 for a fourth- and sixth-round draft selection, Barron immediately took a shot at former Bucs coach Lovie Smith. He called Smith’s defense “passive,” expressing his frustration of its perceived soft coverage.

One would think Barron, now a linebacker, would just be happy he’s out of Tampa and move on – after all, he’s at a position now that allows him to be more aggressive and surround the ball. But, two years removed, the trade still rubs him the wrong way.

Janoris Jenkins is a free agent and could be targeted by Tampa Bay – Photo: Getty Images

(Photo by: Getty Images)

“It was just the way everything happened. I didn’t ever feel like it was the way it should have happened.” Barron said during a conference call with members of the Tampa Bay media Wednesday. “I just didn’t know anything about the situation. I didn’t even know that it was being talked about.

“I didn’t feel like it was respectful at all, in my opinion. But I’m happy it happened. I feel like it was one of the better things that happened to my career actually.”

It’s hard to argue with that last part. Since transitioning to linebacker in Jeff Fisher’s defense, Barron has thrived in his new role. He recorded a career-high 116 tackles in 2015, 16th most in the league, and forced another three fumbles.

The Alabama product, originally drafted by the Dominik-Schiano regime to cover the likes of tight ends Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen, even managed to defend five passes last season and has another three in just two games this year.

While his time in Tampa was a disappointment – from difficulty adjusting to a new defense to reportedly late for a few meetings – the Rams have clearly found a way to use the talented pro effectively.

“We put a couple packages together early when we had him and then once ‘Tree’ [Ogletree] went down last year early in the season, Mark got an opportunity,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said over conference call. “We took advantage of it. He loves the defense, he understands the defense and he’s just been outstanding. Again, great teammate, I was really glad that we were able to get him re-signed during free agency.”

Barron, for his part, said there are similarities between safety and linebacker. He still drops in coverage and reads his keys, only now he’s closer to the ball – which, he says, allows him to make more plays.

As for his ties to Tampa, Barron said he’s not as familiar with the Bucs revamped roster. And as for the players he does know, Barron only referred to them by position – “I know a couple receivers, I know the running back.” Now wearing blue and gold, the most important thing for Barron to know is how to stop his former team this Sunday. He has an idea.

“They’re definitely a team that wants to run the ball, so definitely have to stop that,” he said. “They have [quarterback] Jameis [Winston] and you most definitely want to keep everything under control.

“We feel like he’s a streaky type of quarterback, so you don’t want to let him get going. That’s it. You stop the run and try to force them to pass, but don’t let them get going in the passing game and we feel like that’s all we need to do to get a win.”

To do that, “You want to make [Winston] uncomfortable, by getting him off his spot, keep pressure in his face,” Barron continued. “You want to disrupt him in every way you can.”

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: zshapiro12@gmail.com
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4 years ago

I miss this guy. I think we pulled the trigger on that trade too soon. Sometimes a change of position can make a marginal player turn into a beast. We could use his fumble making abilities right about now.

4 years ago

seat26, we already had a weak side LB who was better that Barron in LeVonte David. We drafted him to play safety not a LB.
Maybe Barron should feel disrespected by the Rams since they moved him out of the position of safety which they traded him for.
The fact is, is that Barron can’t cover well enough to play safety. Perhaps Barron should have a long talk to God about his coverage abilities or lack thereof.

Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

What about SAM LB? I couldn’t see Lansanah being a ton better or whoever we had at that time and right now he could certainly play just as well as Daryl Smith but a lot faster. I hated letting him go because we missed on Kuechly to grab him. He was never a good safety but we must have seen something to draft him. Plus didnt we replace him at safety with Dashaun Goldson?

4 years ago

Hated the draft pick. Maybe the most bone head pick we ever did. After Bo Jackson of course. Wasn’t Kieckly on the board at that time? Glad he’s gone.

Reply to  chetthevette
4 years ago

Yes he was Chett. I too wasn’t thrilled with the choice of a Safety that high. As I recall most thought we were going to draft CB Morris Claiborne (he of the 4 score Wonderlic test). Barron is just another player who suffered the fate of the Scubog game jersey. Twice when Revis (another victim) took his #24. Both jerseys hang on the left (obsolete and too small) side of my Bucs attire closet.

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