With the wagons somewhat circling around One Buc Place again, trying to run Bucs head coach Greg Schiano out of town after Sunday’s 33-14 loss to the 49ers, a familiar face came to his rescue somewhat.
Former Bucs great and now FOX Sports analyst Ronde Barber joined the Booger and Rich Show on 98.7 The Fan FM on Monday and defended the blitz of Colin Kaepernick in the fourth quarter that ended up being a backbreaking play, quarterback Mike Glennon’s 2013 season and even Schiano himself.
Early in the fourth quarter the 49ers were clinging to a 20-14 lead and the Bucs has seized some momentum. San Francisco was facing a third-and-12 from their own 29 but the Bucs were unable to contain Kaepernick who scrambled for a 14-yard gain. The 17-play drive ended up culminating in a field goal that pushed the lead to nine points.
Many have questioned the decision to blitz Kaepernick as opposed to sitting back in zone coverage, but Barber wasn’t one of those.
“They have been doing it (all year), that’s just their M.O., that is how Greg [Schiano] thinks, that is how Bill [Sheridan] calls the game,” Barber said. “It was like that last year, it is like that this year. I don’t think they have a lot of trust in their four-man rush. They know in order to force the issue they have to bring a fifth and sometimes sixth guy. It didn’t surprise me to be honest with you. I think their thinking is, get the ball out of the quarterback’s hand fast, then rally and make the tackle. But when you have a guy like Colin [Kaepernick], he did prove it all day, that pressure doesn’t bother him. He is able to run away from it and deliver some really pretty nice balls.
“I don’t know what else they do. You could play coverage but Colin is the type of guy that if he is not getting pressured it is even worse, he just scrambles around and waits until he finds an open receiver. And he did that on [Michael] Crabtree’s first touchdown. So it is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of situation for them. I am actually all right with them forcing the issue. They have great blitzers. Lavonte [David] has proven to be that. Mason Foster has proven to be a guy that can bring some pressure, they have some creative deals. You just can’t account for a guy that can run away from it. They got them. Colin got them.”
Barber was also asked his thoughts on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and the struggles of the leagues 32nd ranked offense.
“The young quarterback doesn’t help the situation, even though I think he has shown some ability,” Barber said. “He made a couple of throws yesterday that were big time throws. The touchdown to Vincent Jackson in that two-minute drive right before the half, there’s not anyone on the league that does that any better. So he has that ability, and he goes through stretches where is just not very good. The fact that they had 11 yards passing right before that two-minute drive, speaks volumes to me of where this offense is. And they have a long way to go.
“Injuries don’t help, they don’t want to make the excuse, but it’s there. They are not very talented on that side of the ball or at least talented enough to compete week in and week out with some of these great teams in the league, and San Francisco is one of those really good teams in football.”
Before the interview wrapped up former Bucs defensive tackle, and 98.7 The Fan host Booger McFarland asked Barber, a former player under Schiano, to give his assessment of the Bucs boss.
“Greg is who he is and is going to be who he is,” Barber said. “I have never had a problem with a guy who, especially coach Schiano, being who he is. His motives and how he wants to run the team – that is his prerogative. I think guys in the locker room now appreciate the consistency in his approach. You can’t find anyone to say anything otherwise and I’ve said that all year long. So whether you agree with him and the way he runs his team, or you don’t,, he is consistent in doing that. And if that garners results, good for them. If it doesn’t? Then Greg will be the first one to tell you someone above his pay grade has a decision to make.
“So I don’t have a problem with him. I have met with him twice in production meetings and obviously I have a relationship with him from last year. I like Greg. I think Greg is a really good guy. I think he tells you exactly what he is thinking, he doesn’t beat around the bush. If there’s a truth there he puts it on you, and if there is something he doesn’t want to tell you, he puts it on you too. From my perspective now as an analyst, I appreciate that.”
To listen to the full interview, click here.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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