Safety Barron showing versatility in second season
TAMPA -- Second-year safety Mark Barron leads the Bucs with 30 tackles, but he's also establishing himself as a young leader on a defense that, despite the team's 0-4 record, is tied for eighth in the NFL in scoring.
"It's more driven, more focused, kind of knows how to be a professional now," safeties coach Jeff Hafley said of Barron's progress Thursday. "Not that he didn't last year, but he learned from all of his experiences and it shows. He's very confident. He knows the defense. You can talk about Darrelle (Revis) and Dashon (Goldson) being the leaders back there, but I'd put him right up there. It's a confidence, and he's just going to get better and better."
What's been encouraging for Bucs coaches is how well Barron has handled a variety of expanded roles in this second season, showcasing his versatility in building on a rookie season that saw him total 88 tackles.
"He's asked to do so much. He's covering running backs, he's also covering receivers, he's also covering tight ends," Hafley said. "He's also doing things linebackers have to do, he's blitzing for the first time this year. I just think the guy's going to get better. He's so focused, and I'm excited every Sunday to go out and watch him after working with him all week."
Barron had an end-zone interception against Tom Brady in the loss at New England, and has twice split sacks on blitz packages. He left last week's loss at Arizona in the second half with a hamstring injury but is expected to play after the bye week in next week's home game against the Eagles.