Ronde Barber’s Return And The Bucs DefenseMarch 6th, 2013
Know someone who doesn’t Bucs like graybeard cornerback/safety Ronde Barber? Well, if you do, that person may be the only soul who does.
Barber, who Joe believes should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday, is the definition of class. Great football player, good guy, outstanding teammate — he’s got it all.
Joe’s good friend Justin Pawlowski, “The Commish,” the noted local NFL draft guru who can be heard weekday mornings with co-host Gary Shelton on WHFS-FM 98.7, is as much of a Barber fan as the next Bucs partisan. He worships Barber for who he is and all that he has meant to the Bucs over the course of three decades.
But in a recent podcast on his station’s website, Pawlowski walked the tightrope of what others may perceive as heresy when he suggested Barber, who Justin believes will make an announcement by the end of the week on his immediate future, might actually help the Bucs defense by retiring.
“So many people want to blame the corners. Yes, the corners on this team were atrocious. They were bad. They will be improved this offseason But it is not just corners that lead to a poor secondary, that leads to one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history. There is a safety back there as well,” Pawlowski said.
“You drafted Mark Barron for a reason and the reason you drafted Mark Barron wasn’t to have him play center field for you. That is not his strength. It sounds asinine to me that you would draft a player for his certain ability and then put him in position for him not to use that ability.
“They have to find a center fielder that is good in pass coverage and make plays as a ballhawk.”
Pawlowski’s point is that Barber was playing run-protection, his strength, but that put Barron out on an island where he was both exposed and out of position, which stunted his growth.
Barron struggled in pass coverage during the second half of the season. Joe attributed that to hitting the rookie wall.
It is an interesting theory Pawlowski has and not an indictment on Barber.
Perhaps in mere hours, we could learn Barber’s future — if any — with the Bucs. Though as Joe reported earlier today, Barber has yet to have his annual sit-down with Greg Schiano and rockstar general manager Mark Dominik. Though Joe’s confident reservations have already been made at a pricey Tampa steak joint to discuss football and Barber’s future while breaking bread.