He’s not your typical new kid on the block but Buccaneers veteran Ronde Barber is going to try something new in his 17th season with the team. The 16 year corner is sliding around the defensive secondary and will be taking on a new role as Tampa’s free safety.
This isn’t new news but the questions about how well it will work out have been abound since the move was rumored after it was announced a few months ago Barber will be putting off retirement for a bother season.
New head coach Greg Schiano is already shaking things up in Tampa and sliding Barber from cornerback to safety is just one of many interesting things he’s done in his short time in Tampa. So far, Barber couldn’t be more happy about freshening up his role with the Bucs.
“I get a chance to be an impact player in this defense,” Barber said. “I’m looking forward to that.”
It’s not like Ronde is going to have to relearn how to walk by moving to safety. He basically was playing the position ever since he got to Tampa as the style of defenses run during his tenure have not relied heavily on shutdown corners.
Barber has made his name being versatile and it isn’t by chance that he has nearly 30 career sacks and over 1,100 tackles.
By sliding over to safety Barber will fill a much needed hole and will be lining up (and most likely taking under his wing) the guy the Buccaneers hope to be the next big thing in their secondary, rookie Mark Barron.
When this move to safety was announced it was around the time that Tanard Jackson was cut and because of that timing the move of Barber to that position seemed like it was made because it had to be, not because it was a willing option. But now that Barron is in the secondary and fills the role of a young, tough and gruesome force that was left vacant by Jackson’s waiving, fans can feel more comfortable with the switch.
The other question now is what will Tampa do at cornerback. They didn’t draft Morris Claiborne as a long term replacement for Barber and actually only drafted one cornerback in the entire draft. By doing this, Greg Schiano might be making his first big mistake as a head coach.
This is of course looking at everything with a cynical eye as Eric Wright has done nothing to suggest he won’t be a viable No. 1 option at corner. And this is all assuming Aqib Talib messes up somewhere and either gets himself suspended or cut leaving Wright as the only safe option at the position.
But Barber’s move is one that fans can now look at with ease. Like Wright, he’s done nothing to suggest he won’t flourish in this role and it might even add a few more years onto his career if all goes well.
And if moving Barber to safety adds years to his career in addition to producing great numbers, well I don’t think there is a fan in TAmpa that will be opposed to that.