Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

For now, cut Bucs corner Barber some slack

TAMPA — When Ronde Barber called the coin toss correctly in overtime at Chicago two weeks ago, it might have been the quarter he has played the best in several weeks.

The four-time Pro Bowl cornerback is suffering through his worst four-game stretch since his rookie year, having been beaten for long touchdown passes in three games this season.

"It is what it is," Barber said. "I played the plays. They happened. You know, to be quite honest, it could happen any of the 60 or 70 plays you play every week. I understand it happened. It doesn't happen to me often.

"Greatness is forged in the fires of adversity. I know my teammates support me. I'll be back out of it. I'm not worried about it at all."

Considering all the enormous plays Barber has made, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

A closer inspection of those touchdowns reveals some bad luck, as well. Against the Saints, Gaines Adams jumped offside, giving quarterback Drew Brees essentially a free down to toss an 84-yard touchdown to Devery Henderson. Barber appeared to slip on the play.

At Chicago, Bears receiver Brandon Lloyd caught six passes for 124 yards, many of them on Barber, including a 19-yard touchdown he took off Barber's helmet. Finally, last week, Barber fell to the grass on the first possession trying to cover the Packers' Greg Jennings, gift-wrapping a 25-yard touchdown pass.

"When you play corner in this league, especially as long as he has, it's going to happen," defensive backs coach Raheem Morris said. "He hasn't had to deal with it. That's probably one of his worst quarters as a professional athlete, as far as what happened. Giving up two touchdowns like that, giving up a couple of big plays. But his ability to bounce back, especially in the Green Bay game, to go out there and not even think about it and not let another pass go down on him, it's always good.

"He's given up big catches before. Somebody has snatched one off the top of his head before. … For (No.) 20, there's no way one play is ever going to decide his fate in this game. It's already written. I think he thinks he's going to get two touchdowns this week."

Barber has always excelled as the slot cover, shadowing the inside receiver when teams go three or four wide. It's a position where he can blitz, bait and cover. He is the only player to record at least 20 interceptions and 20 sacks.

All the scores Barber has yielded have come from his right cornerback spot. Today, he will have his hands full with Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall and rookie Eddie Royal.

"In this league, they keep throwing at you until you stand up," Morris said.

Of course, nobody in the Bucs locker room is concerned about Barber. It's similar to when Derrick Brooks was beaten on a play in the season opener last year at Seattle — then went on to have one of his best years.

"It's one of those things. He's facing adversity," linebacker Barrett Ruud said. "And since I've been here, he really hasn't had to face it. He's been the guy making every play. In a way, maybe it's good for him. Maybe he'll buckle down even more than he does. … When you're a player of his caliber, he's going to have a couple huge games to follow this one."

For now, cut Bucs corner Barber some slack 10/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 6, 2008 1:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why it's too early to give up on the Bucs


    Don't panic. It's not too late for the Bucs.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and wide receiver Mike Evans (13) celebrate after the defense recovered a fumble during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  2. Cannon Fodder podcast: Most important stat in Bucs-Bills game


    Greg Auman talks about the uncertainty at quarterback for the Bucs as they go to Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) intercepts a pass from Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  3. Bucs-Bills: Things to watch in Sunday's 1 p.m. game


    FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2017, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) runs past Atlanta Falcons' De'Vondre Campbell (59) and Deion Jones (45) during the second half of an NFL football game, in Atlanta. The Bills play against the Buccaneers in Buffalo on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NY182
  4. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills


    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) watches a replay while sitting out with an injury during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  5. Hobart president among fans going to see Ali Marpet vs. Bills


    Bucs center Ali Marpet went to college at Hobart, just over 100 miles east of Buffalo, and the college's president will be among a large group of fans proudly driving over to see Marpet play as the Bucs face the Bills on Sunday.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk (2) is congratulated by center Ali Marpet (74) after kicking a game-winning field goal during the second half of an NFL game between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. The Bucs won 25-23.