The QB Blast: Replacing Ronde Tops D-Line NeedMarch 19th, 2010
By JEFF CARLSON
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as an analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.
I applaud the Bucs’ move this week to get a proven entity at safety in the former Eagle Sean Jones. It downgrades their need to improve at safety through the draft and that is good for the team.
I’m not wrong very often, but I must admit that Ronde Barber outplayed my expectations for him last year (and most other’s expectations, I assume).
Most lengthy careers of even the greatest players end in much the same way Derrick Brooks’ did. The end usually comes as a gradual decline in performance that coined the phrase “He’s lost a step.” But in Barber’s case, he played much better in ’09 than in ’08.
That said, this is the season that a regular replacement for Barber that complements Aqib Talib’s all-star abilities must be found, and the Bucs should plan on Barber to be a situational specialist. He has been playing on a gimpy knee for more than one season and expecting high level execution as an every-down player is probably a bit too much. Being able to go hard on a lesser workload would be much more realistic for the future Hall-of Fame candidate.
As a general statement, defense is a “6 one way, half-dozen the other” proposition. Pressure on the quarterback makes an average secondary look good. And a strong secondary makes an average, defensive line look better and helps them put up some prettier stats, if they get an extra second to get in the passer’s face. The concept is the epitome of the word TEAM.
And while a standout player added to the defensive line is always wanted and needed, finding a long-term answer to the right cornerback position is of the highest priority.