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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Ronde Barber still at safety for Bucs

The Bucs don't have a game that matters for four months, but if they played tomorrow, Ronde Barber would start at free safety.

Barber, 37, took most of his repetitions alongside rookie safety Mark Barron Tuesday. Bucs coach Greg Schiano remains somewhat non-committal, but it's clear he has no problem moving the 16th year veteran from cornerback to safety.

"I like the way he’s performed so far,'' Schiano said. "The final piece will obviously be live play. but I don’t have any hesitation. I’ve watched enough of him playing nickel and playing dime and he’s sitting in the box and he’s a fearless guy. I think he can do it. it’s just a matter of what’s our best 11 guys. Right now, that’s where he’s still playing.''

That's not to say Barber won't play his traditional role in the slot on occassion during passing downs. In fact, the outcome of Aqib Talib's trial in Dallas June 25 will have an impact on the cornerback position. But in the first OTA Tuesday, Talib and Lions free agent Eric Wright were at cornerback with Barron and Barber at safety.

"Our whole deal in each personnel group is to get the best 11 on the field, and the best 11 at what we’re asking them to do in that personnel group,'' Schiano said. "Ronde’s had years of playing underneath in nickel and dime, and that would be foolish to totally abandon that, I think. But again, you have to get the best 11. if you don’t have anybody who can play deep as well as he can play under(neath), then we have to do the tradeoff game."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 5:01pm]


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