Ronde Barber And The Safety Position

July 11th, 2012

Sam Monson of has doubts about whether Ronde Barber can be a solid safety

The spreadsheeters over at have been keeping busy during the dog days of the football dead period scouring tape of the last three years NFL seasons to determine the best tacklers in the league.

This piece, typed by Sam Monson, seemed to wag a finger at the Bucs, and not in a good way. Monson writes about how, when executed with sound fundamentals, the Tampa-two defense is a good defense, which left Monson wondering about former Bucs coach Raheem Morris.

Most of the time referring to the Tampa-2 conjures up images of discipline, sound fundamentals, and quality play to force mistakes from the opposition, but not on this occasion. The Tampa Two to which I am referring are Ronde Barber and Tanard Jackson, who lead the pack with more missed tackles than any other defensive backs over the past three seasons. Barber has racked up a massive half-century of misses, but what is even more staggering is the 43 that Jackson has managed to total on fewer than half of Barber’s snaps.

You have to wonder exactly what the Buccaneers were practicing over the past few seasons, because it certainly wasn’t sound fundamentals and the basics, those fell to pieces under Raheem Morris.

Monson then claims that, per his charts, Barber and Jackson, were among the worst culprits in the NFL for tackling efficiency for defensive backs.

Monson also goes on to write that he believes Barber, unless he improves his tackling efficiency, will not be a solid safety because the position calls for sure tacklers.

This took Joe aback because in Joe’s eyes, there are few better tacklers at corner than Barber. Shoot, he made so many plays inside in 2010, it was as if Barber was a fourth linebacker.

28 Responses to “Ronde Barber And The Safety Position”

  1. bucnjim Says:

    it goes back to the same problem as with Freeman which is trying to do too much. once these two get back to concentrating on their own jobs and trusting the players around them again things will turn around.

  2. Fatmosh Says:

    If Barber had a different last name his play last year would be judged a lot more harshly.

    Here’s to hoping it was just because of the scheme…

  3. Drew Says:

    Coach: Hey You! You missed that tackle. What happened?

    Barber: Well… uh… the sun was in my eyes and the wind was blowing the wrong way.

    Coach: Let me see what we can do to get mother nature back to the basics.

  4. thomas 2.2 Says:

    This guy doesn’t understand the bucs or football.

    Ronde had an inordinate amount of solo opportunities as a corner to tackle RBs who were not touched at the line of scrimmage – due to our legendarily poor front 7.

    Ronde is small but game and he takes on 250lb ballcarriers like he is 250 himself – he is going to lose a few of those battles.

    If a D lineman or LB can get a hat or body on a RB before plus 3 territory, Ronde’s perecentage will go WAY up.

    Any smallish safety, or corner, would have struggled with tackle percentage on last last year’s god-awful bucs defense (that most of you predicted would go 12-4 or better LOL). THC Jax was out of shape and uses poor technique.

    Ronde has toughness, smarts and great instinct – and if he gets any help at all his tackle percentage will be just fine.

  5. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    For once I agree with 2.2, Ronde is and has always been a tackle machine. His play may of dipped a little bit but I think that has more to do with the coaching than anything. When talib first came into the league, he was an impressive tackler but that went to hell once Rah took over as well… coincidence? Maybe… but I’m willing to bet not. Hopefully we wont be having these conversations about fundamentals this time next year.

  6. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    I’m betting Ronde had a lot more tackle opportunities than other defensive backs (mathematically leading to more misses) between the poor play of the linebackers and Ronde’s knack and ability to read a play and be in the right place. Thats why statistics like that are so hard to read, you have to combine them with watching actual tape in order to make a real evaluation.

  7. BigBear Says:

    @Thomas2.2 So very true. Ronde spent an inordinate amount of time trying to tackle untouched backs coming from the backfield. This left him to try and do anything to get these guys down. I remember many plays of Ronde trying to knife in and not have anyone in the middle of the D there to help him. The Tampa 2 was often seen as a gang tackling situation and when one man could slow a runner up the rest of the D would be right behind him to secure the tackle. Last year ( and a couple years before that) were rife with times Ronde, and others, were hung out to dry when the gang tackling became non-existent.

  8. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Yeah, gotta agree with Thomas on this one. This is a perfect example of when stats are misleading. Anyone who has to tackle WR’s and RB’s in space constantly is going to miss a bunch of tackles. Gang tackling was apparently forbidden last year.

  9. Orlandobucfan Says:

    I think fundamentals went out the window when Raheem became coach. Toes on the line schiano should bring it back.

  10. Nick2 Says:

    Wow how many damaging opinions of Raheems coaching are still left to hear? Its a wonder he is still coaching at any level of the NFL. The first half of the last Atlanta game made me wonder why he was still coaching at that point. It was absolutely the worst defensive football half I have seen at any level (high school, college, pros). The hits keep on coming thats for sure. Thanks Rah you were way way way over your head!!!!

  11. Chris FWC Says:

    Keep him at his natural position. He was still very effective last season.

  12. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Ronde missed a bunch of tackles. He has been missing plenty for years. When you are 36 years old, 5’10 and 185lbs soaking wet with a crap run defense in front of you, and you are pretty much playing LB, you are going to miss tackles. A lot of them. The guy is smart and knows how to put himself into position to make plays. The problem is he is just a bit too seasoned to be able to make those plays on a consistent basis nowadays. I totally agree with Mr. Monson.

  13. Meh Says:

    Barber’s tackling has been terrible the last couple years. He’s a great Buc, a hall of famer imo, but face it – he’s in steep decline and has been for a couple years now.

  14. Jeff78280z Says:

    Damn Thomas I believe you may have a valid point. I have not played in 10+ years. But Ronde is as close as it gets to fundamental tackeling. The source of the article must not have watched many Bucs games in the past 15 years. Hit them in the waist wrap them up and slide your arms down to there ankles. Ronde is the definition of cagey veteran. Unless he is trying to tackle Brandon Jacobs. I still remember Jacobs stiff arming Ronde into submission a few years back. It got so bad Tiki had to stick up for his brother on the play where Jacobs literally threw Ronde out of bounds. That being said I think Ronde will be a great safety. Ever notice how safeties you never heard of come to Tampa and play very well. It’s the system. I’m still pissed Tampa passed on Eric Berry.

  15. Jeff78280z Says:

    P.S. He is still going to start on this team. Dunno if that is good or bad. Every time I think he is done he has a good game. Int’s anyone? Plus a member of the forty forty club. Thats rare in its self!

  16. Bobby Says:

    Did ANYONE tackle well on last years team????

  17. Ladyz Says:

    Thomas 22 has me checking my pluse. Best comment I remember from him. Very thoughtful. To all the others who want Ronde gone, I’d sure love you to try running the ball against him. Go Ronde! Go Bucs !!

  18. BucsFanInBoise Says:

    All I know is about 10 years ago I sold my soul for Tampa Bay to beat the Eagles. I remember McNabb driving down the field. My prayers were answered in the form of Ronde and a pic 6 to send Tampa to the Suberbowl ! Let the man play QB if he wants. WE OWE HIM !!!!

  19. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Monson is an idiot, and I would like to know where he gets his stats.

    Over the last 10 years, Barber has averaged 71.5 solo tackles per year. He’s averaged 84.2 Combined tackles in that time. He’s also averaged 3.3 Interceptions each year over the last 11 years.

    Also, as a Cornerback…A CORNERBACK…he averaged 1.65 sacks over the last 10 years.

    Ronde Barber has always been one of the best tacklers at his position. Monson doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    But even if Ronde did miss tackles from time to time…he still has high numbers. Last year alone he had 79 Combined tackles, 1 sack, 3 Interceptions and a forced fumble.

  20. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    By the way…with the moves this team has made, along with the assembled staff…I don’t see how Schiano cannot do very well…unless he turns out to be an idiot, which I don’t see happening.

  21. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Great point Pete.

    Ronde’s average sacks per season is virtually identical to Gerald’s after 2 seasons. LOL!

  22. Mr Lucky Says:

    Good to see some positive comments about what Thomas 2.2 wrote – I totally agree with you on this one Thomas.

    I have more faith in Rhonde doing well in 2012, even at safety, than I have in GMC.

    Hopefully BOTH players can record double digit sacks.

  23. Joe Says:


    Monson is an idiot, and I would like to know where he gets his stats.

    And Joe would ask where you get your stats?

    Not trying to be a knob, but what the NFL records for defensive stats and what the Bucs record as stats are wildly different. Joe has written about this before.

    So if someone is going to knock a guy — Joe’s not saying Monson is wrong or right — for studying tape and taking detailed notes, the very same question could be lodged at the NFL and the Bucs (or any team).

  24. aj Says:

    Rah said stats are for losers, but it is better said stats without context are for losers. Even a step or two slow, Ronde still covers more field than most, still gets in position to make plays. The fact is that any team that asks a cornerback to be its primary run stopper is going to have a bad time.

    Can’t wait to see him at safety. With a better view of the field, he might be in a better position to put his instincts to good use. And if the d-line can finally generate a pass rush, he’ll be ready for a good season defending the pass.

  25. Brandon Says:

    Ronde very well could have missed a ton of tackles. However, considering he was one of the few players on the D willing to get his uniform dirty, it’s pretty hard to make a tackle when only 6-7 guys are out there playing against 11.

    I liken Barber’s situation not a whole lot different than that of a punter trying to tackle the broken away punt returner as the last line of defense. I don’t care if Ray Lewis was the punter, he’s going to miss his fair share of those tackles. The reason is is that there is very little help around him. in a good defense, other players flow to the ball, eliminate cutbacks, and stick their heads in there to make sure the ball carrier is down. In our defense, far too often it was one player trying to make the tackle by himself in space with nobody else close to lend a hand, eliminate cutbacks, and put a helmet in there to eliminate second effort broken tackles.

  26. Oahubuc Says:

    When you are the only guy trying to make tackles, you are going to miss some.

  27. Tiny tim Says:

    Why even write what these stat geeks write about. I’m sure what they are calling a miss tackle is not considered a miss tackle in NFL circles. These are geeks who have never strapped on anything but a g-string. Please Joe, stop referencing these guys and stick to “real” football guys and not some numbers geek looking to be relevant. Barber was, is, and always will be one of the best tackling corners this league has ever seen. I do not need a numbers geek to tell me that. You should know better Joe!!

  28. Tiny tim Says:

    Also Joe, I remember before last season you referenced some stat geeks that was trying to sell that Biggers was one of the better cover corners in the league and I told you then to stop it. Because what I saw out of biggers told me another story. Again, these geeks are trying to be relevant and it is not worth your time to keep posting such nonsense. I come to your website for informative information and not some wanna be football scout’s analysis. You are better than that Joe!!