Barber humbled by ninth career Player of Week award
Ronde Barber has won a Super Bowl, been to five Pro Bowls and made bigger plays on grander stages (like the INT that sealed the NFC Championship game over the Eagles in 2003). But at 36, being named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the ninth time in his career still is a rush for the Bucs cornerback.
In fact, the manner in which Barber won the award -- with four tackles, including one for loss, a fumble recovery, an interception and five passes defensed in Sunday's 16-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons -- was even more sweet because the Bucs played man-to-man coverage all over the field.
"This is not the first time...but I'm glad it was with a win,'' Barber said. "It was a great effort by the team. I had some standout plays in there, but I'm always humble with these types of awards. It's nice to be recognized by the naysayers sometimes.''
In the early years, Barber's performance was dismissed by some because he was thought of as a 'system corner,' in the zone-based, Tampa 2 defense. But in the last three seasons, the Bucs have played very little Cover 2.
"We haven't played that much since Raheem has been here,'' Barber said. "We've got a talented group in the secondary and in the linebacking corps and we feel like we're capable of doing it. Rahaeem gives us a lot to do, a lot of different packages, a lot of different coverages and which ever one is up that week, we know we've got to win. I give our guys a lot of credit, man, because it wasn't an easy task. They've got a great quarterback (Matt Ryan), two great receivers (Roddy White and Julio Jones) and a great tight end (Tony Gonzalez).
"It was a huge game for us early in the season. We know Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina are our challenge. If we want to win the division, we've got to beat those guys. It was a step in the right direction for us. It showcased some of our young talent and some of our will that we showed last year. It was good. We held our own.''