Tampa Bay has decided to start long time Buccaneer, Ronde Barber, as a free safety for the first time ever in his NFL career. Barber has started 199 consecutive games, the longest streak in the NFL, and all of them have been as a cornerback. While many find this news surprising, Barber says he is extremely optimistic about the move. “Coach approached and told me that he wanted the best 11 guys on the field, and we’re going to find a way to do that” said Barber, going on to say, “I’m enthusiastic about the defense. It is going to afford me a lot of opportunities to make plays, so no matter where I line up, I think I’ll be effective.”
Making the move does make a lot of sense. Ronde Barber brings a lot of experience to the defense, the 37 year old is the longest tenured Buccaneer, but has definitely experienced a slowing to his steps recently. However, according to an interview with Barber in the Tampa Tribune it appears that slight lack in speed will actually make the transition from corner to safety go much more smoothly. Says Barber, “There is no transition. It’s really no different than me playing down in the box all these years. I’ve done some half-field stuff and some whole-field stuff before, so it’s not that much of a transition. It’s just slowing my feet down from corner feet to safety feet. It’s a bit of a learning curve with the verbiage and the assignments, but it’s nothing I can’t handle if need be.”
It’s nice to see he has such a positive outlook on this big change. He must just realize this is the only way he will be guaranteed to start. When the speed goes it goes, nothing left to do than find the best way to contribute. And it appears this move will be just that.