Another Depth Gamble At Cornerback

May 9th, 2013

The retirement of Ronde Barber re-highlights the Bucs’ depth issues at cornerback.

Right now, the Bucs’ top three corners include a guy rehabilitating from major knee surgery, a rookie mid-second-round pick, and an unreliable veteran coming off an injury-plagued season. Behind them are inexperienced members of last year’s dreadful cornerbacks crew.

Fans can spin these facts however they want, but the reality doesn’t change. The Bucs are gambling that the question marks over their top-3 will be answered favorably — and quickly — and that the health gods smile upon them all season.

Barber would have provided top-flight depth, and Joe would not have wagered a nickel against Barber beating out Eric Wright during training camp.

Joe’s unsure why the Bucs are rolling the dice on cornerbacks depth (throw in linebacker and defensive end, too). But it’s still only May. Talent will hit the market in late August and in early September.

39 Responses to “Another Depth Gamble At Cornerback”

  1. robert Says:

    meh, bot so sure it’s a gamble.

    Barber is/was a stud, no doubt. but in a zone scheme. man on man…..not so much in his old days. he’s lost a step or more and they are asking their new corners to be in a lot more man oriented schemes. remember what happened like 2 or 3 years ago when they changed the scheme and put Rhonde out there? WR’s were blowing by him downfield and he could not recover when beaten. Love Rhonde, but I think they are going be looking on the street for guys that fit the new scheme better.

  2. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    The retirement of Ronde sucks…but I see no need to become negative. I know injuries plague this team…I think it is because of the environment here…but there is just as much reason to help as to fear.

    Besides, we have two veterans in the CB position, a first round quality draft choice that we got in Round 2, and yes…untested guys as well.

    But every spot cannot be filled with experience…not if we’re going to raise up young talent to replace our veterans down the road.

  3. Tbuc Says:

    Joe, this is your Rockstar’s gamble. The GM builds the roster. He lost the CB gamble in 2012 why do it two years in a row?

  4. tonytwocents Says:

    We should be playing a lot of nickel with all the pass happy teams we’re gonna face. So yeah its concerning, but like you said Joe, its only May. Let Dom get out and start pluckin peoples Practice Squads.

  5. 4everBucsFan Says:

    With Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, and Anthony Gaitor having another year of getting coached up by Schiano and staff, learning everything Revis, makes me feel confident we will be ok if we have some short term injuries.

    But if we suffer season ending injuries to the starters all at once, then we could have a problem. Remember, injuries in the secondary wasn’t really the problem last year, it was the suspensions.

  6. lightningbuc Says:

    “Talent will hit the market in late August and in early September.”

    Joe, those that hit the market then aren’t very talented.

  7. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Gambled last year on the CB’s and got burned. Gambling this year on the health of the DE’s too.

  8. Joe Says:

    @lightningbuc – Not always true.

  9. jvato24 Says:

    Leonard Johnson started last year and got 4 picks or something like that as an undrafted rookie, he will now be a dimeback, thats pretty good depth if you ask me

  10. Buc Fan #238 Says:

    Somany CBs signed one year deals this past off-season. If this doesn’t work, we can always target a CB in free agency next season.

    Right now, there isn’t enough room for a vet at CB… unless that is, you are playing Madden Football on your PS3.

  11. Biff Barker Says:

    I understand the concern Joe and it is not unfounded. The staff decided the secondary needed a complete overhaul, not a series of one year stop gap solutions!
    It’s time to see if the youngsters can play.

  12. RCS Says:

    Gaitor when healthy has shown promise. And Johnson performed really well for a rookie.
    Yeah their not house hold names. But its not the end of the world as this post leads people to believe.

  13. Ruggyup Says:

    Reminds me of old advice from Pops to daughter before the Senior Prom…”ya always go home with the guy what brung ya”.

  14. Curmudgeon Says:

    Not sure we have any choices other than “gambles.” I mean, it was a gamble last year to go into the season with Roy Miller as the starting DT, but when they let him go in FA, everyone was crying about it… This is just where our team is — dealing with questions. There isn’t anything to do about it, except take the pain. There’s not likely to be any plug-in personnel on the market that would make it less of a “gamble.” It is what it is.

  15. robert Says:

    notice Leonard Johnson being named a few times. guy played well last year. and with another year under his belt I am comfortable with him being plugged in where Rhonde may have been. Johnson is straight from the Barber mold, younger and plays well. played better than any CB we had last year anyway. not that that says much. We’ll bring in one more from the cuts who’s talented enough to be a plug n play guy.

  16. tonytwocents Says:

    I want to see us use a 3 saftey defense more often. Esp on 3rd downs. I wonder how Grimms injury is coming along…

  17. Fish Says:

    I would take our group of corners over just about any other group in the league. Don’t freak people out, Joe.

    Honestly, we’re in much better shape, depthwise, than we have been in years. People are overreacting when they panic because we’ve had crappy luck with injuries… Not much Dom can do about that.

  18. Kalind Says:

    Ive said it before, there are at least three corners still available who can play, and would provide immediate depth, if not beat out the slow-poke and the addict.

    There are just too many talented players available at positions where we need depth, NOT to do something. This team can certainly win now, and I hope the Office, is willing to push their cards in on this season. One vet corner, serviceable tackel, and a 30+ year old DE and we’re in the championship game (assume Freeman plays O-K)

  19. Santos Says:

    For the love of God it’s Ronde, R-o-n-d-e !!!

  20. tonytwocents Says:

    hell, the more I think about it, the more I like the 3 safety approach. with the front four intact, theres prob more flexibility with the 3 safety than with a 3-4. Forget CB depth, lets bolster our SS depth.

  21. Capt. Tim Says:

    Anyone who feels good about our CB depth, either has no idea what he was looking at last year, or didn’t watch last year.

    Gorrer, Gaitor, Lewis, Johnson, and Weight have the worst cornerback play the league has seen in decades. It was so horrible- that most analyst said none of those players should be in the league. WRs were open their entire route- from the line of scrimmage til play ended.

    I don’t know how anyone, who watched even one game- could possibly say anything good about them

    They were 19 yards from being the worst secondary in history.

    Revis and Banks are great talents. It will take banks a couple years to learn the position.

    That’s the only real Cbs on this team.

  22. Architek Says:

    Depth will be addressed

  23. mike Says:

    Barber is now a safety, he did not line up at cb last year. So th depth at cb is the same with or without barber!
    The problem with our corners will be that the qb has plenty of time to throw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  24. LadyZ Says:

    MEA CULPA. Ok guys I was wrong about Ronde being pushed out! Heard it on the radio this morning, out of his own mouth. Sorry Joe!

  25. Burgi Says:

    That’s why I really didn’t get that Biggers (and Bennett by the way) were let go.

  26. tonytwocents Says:

    Just realized we were 30th in QB sacks?? Father Dungy would tell you that that was why we had the worst pass defense. Opposing QBs didnt have to wash their jerseys after playing us.

  27. tonytwocents Says:

    DE depth above everything!

  28. Macabee Says:

    According to RotoWorld Barber is saying some things that are not necessarily flattering about Schiano and Dominik. Words to the effect that he was never really asked to come back. You read, you decide!

  29. tonytwocents Says:

    Looks like youre right Mac. The full article came from USA Today:

  30. robert Says:

    he wasn’t asked to be a starter. and he should not have been. nothing unflattering about that!

    Asked if Schiano’s grinding style factored in to his decision, Barber laughed and said, “Not really, although I did have probably the hardest preseason last year since I was a rookie in the league. That’s just the way he’s approaches his job and molding his team. It’s a shock to your system when you first get that, but Greg and I had a great relationship. He’s a really good guy. I applaud his vision on what he wants this football team to be.”

  31. Vern4499 Says:


    Couldn’t agree with you more. I read it and seems like he is praising Dom and Schiano.

  32. Macabee Says:


    Everybody may draw their own conclusions. But what I read in paragraph 2 of the USA today piece suggests that If Dominik and Schiano had made him an offer worthy of the effort required to comeback, his decision might have been different.

    In other words he was made an implied offer that was easy to refuse. RIF!

  33. Bobby Says:

    @Macabee….I don’t have a problem with the Bucs ‘encouraging’ Ronde to retire by letting him know what his role was likely to be in 2013. Barber is a grown man and he understands his age and the direction this team is going to go. Why would the Bucs invest in him if they don’t plan on using him? It’s time to give that playing time to someone they are trying to develop for the future.
    The cold hard reality of football as a business seems harsh but it is what it is and the players understand. I don’t think Ronde is the least bit upset with the Bucs as an organization.

  34. Mike M Says:

    If our two new corners (Revis and Banks) are 1/3 better than the two losers from last year (Wright and Talib) and our three best back-ups (Johnson, Gorrer, and Gaitor) improve through another year of good coaching by 1/3, then with a born again Wright and an outside chance that some UDFA will float to the top it is not unreasonable to assume our CB play will be 1/3 better. If that trend runs team wide we may win 1/3 more games. Add a little luck and a lotta of finger crossing and we stretch our record to 10-6. (And that’s all I have to say about that!).

  35. Macabee Says:


    I agree with the Bucs decision and of course Ronde’s ultimate decision. I’m simply saying that Ronde’s owns words are exactly what you’re saying. the Bucs didn’t make him an offer that might have made him change his mind. In fact, they did the opposite which Ronde evidently felt a need to make mention of.

    Sorry if anyone drew from my comments that Ronde is upset. To the contrary, the non-offer helped him make up his mind and I think he’s good with that!

  36. Que589 Says:

    The development of CB’s on the roster and a lack of bonafide game changers on the market is the reason why Bucs brass is gambling on CB depth

  37. Bobby Says:

    @Capt. Tim….John Lynch absolutely sucked his rookie year. I think Gaitor and Johnson have a lot of upside. I believe they’ll be fine this year and especially with Revis as a mentor.

  38. Vic66 Says:

    @Ladyz. Excuse my expression but you showed a lot of balls to post an apology for your recent posts about Barber being kicked aside. I hope you will continue to post your ideas and opinions.

  39. BOb Says:

    Jeez…..just no pleasing some joes in the world i guess…trade for the best CB in the league, resign the starting corner from last yearat a reduced rate and then take the best corner available in the second round. Then your backups are players who actually have starting experience. Teams would kill for that. But then again not all of us have to find SOMETHING to write about so i guess i get it