Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/13/13
His rookie NFL season left safety Mark Barron swearing off roller-coasters. The first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers in 2012 enjoyed a smooth ride at Alabama winning two national championships while anchoring a dominating defense. But after an encouraging start last fall paired with 16-year veteran Ronde Barber at the back end of Tampa Bay’s secondary Barron saw his play take a plunge. He posted fewer tackles and pass deflections experiencing rare adversity on the football field. “There were a few ups and downs for me personally last year” Barron said Monday before the Bucs departed for three days of practice against the Patriots in New England. “I started off good and then somewhere in the middle of the season I flattened out. Toward the end I picked it up again. It was pretty much a roller-coaster for me.” Barron 23 can’t wait to show teammates and coaches his full array of skills. Barron was exposed in coverage at times last year but the offseason additions of two Pro Bowl players safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Darrelle Revis will allow Barron to play a role similar to former Bucs safety John Lynch lining up closer to the line of scrimmage. “He’s going to do some things for us underneath in our sub-packages” coach Greg Schiano said. “So there’s an aspect of the game that you never got to see.” Barron ranked fourth on the team with 89 tackles as a rookie and he will be asked to provide even more run support. He also gives defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan options as a fast physical blitzer who can supplement a pass rush that generated an NFC-low 27 sacks in 2012. “Mark’s rookie year was very typical” Sheridan said. “The season got long and it’s physically wearing. And it’s much more competitive up here. In college Mark was physically superior compared to the majority of the guys. While he’s got fantastic talent so does everyone else in the NFL. That’s why the details and techniques are so much more critical at this level.”
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