Ronde Barber learning from Mark Barron, too
It’s not a leap to say rookie strong safety Mark Barron is learning a great deal from playing alongside 16th-year veteran Ronde Barber, who is making the transition from cornerback to free safety.
But did you know the knowledge flows both ways?
“There are definitely some things that I learn about the position from him,” Barber said of Barron. “I’ve seen a lot over the years and I’ve played with some great safeties. So I’m not worried about my confidence level back there. But it’s good being out there with Mark. I’m figuring out what to do and he’s figuring out the defense. I’m trying to teach him to be a professional. There are definitely things that are beneficial.”
Barber has never played safety, locking down the Bucs' right cornerback position for most of his previous 15 seasons.
Still, this is a relationship that’s ideal for the Bucs. They have the consummate professional in Barber, a player who has surprised even the team’s first-year coaching staff with his uncompromising work ethic.
“I didn’t know guys worked like that,” defensive backs coach Ron Cooper said.
The pairing works well because Barron, the seventh overall pick in April’s draft, understands he’s in a unique position to learn many things of value. That’s not always a given.
“I think (Barron) understands he’s fortunate to have a guy like Ronde to mentor him,” coach Greg Schiano said. “Sometimes guys fresh out of college don’t realize how fortunate they are to have that. It’s come easy (in the past) and they think it’s going to continue to come easy. But it’s a different level of competition. Ronde on the flip side, has been willing to help and share, which I think is great.”
Said Barron: “Anytime you stay in the league 16 years, you have to be doing those kinds of things (that Barber does). That’s what it takes to get to that point.”