Reporting Justin Pawlowski
I love Ronde Barber as much as anyone. He started 215 consecutive games and was the final piece of string connecting us to the Buccaneers dynasty defense.
It was time for Ronde Barber to retire.
Last season was tough for any Bucs fan to watch. Much like the Rays of 2013, with the Bucs of 2012, no lead was safe…for them.
Much of the focus, as it usually is, was on Josh Freeman. While I do believe that Josh Freeman is a focal point, he should not have been the only one.
The Buccaneers secondary was a complete joke in 2012. They weren’t just bad, but they were historically bad as they allowed the 2nd most passing yards in NFL history. Ronde Barber was one of the four players in that secondary a majority of that season. To say that Ronde was the best part of that secondary a year ago would be like saying you really enjoyed the steak dinner on the Carnival ship that was stuck at sea.
Mark Dominik and the Buccaneers front office took notice of that awful secondary and attacked it this off-season.
The Buccaneers first target was 49ers All Pro safety Dashon Goldson. With him signed, a starting safety position was not available for Ronde, so either Ronde was destined to either be a back up or move back to corner.
After Goldson, the Buccaneers focused on recovering the guaranteed money that Eric Wright forfeited, but also signing him to a new team-friendly deal. With this accomplished, some wondered if Ronde would start opposite Wright at corner.
The Buccaneers next target was one of the top defensive players and the top cornerback in the NFL in Jets All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. The acquisition of Revis gave the Bucs an entirely new look to their defense, while also reducing Ronde’s potential role to nickel/slot corner or back up safety. After the Revis trade was made, some thought the Bucs were thru addressing that awful secondary. They were not.
With the Buccaneers 2nd round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Bucs selected Mississippi State cornerback and Jim Thorpe Award winner Johnthan Banks. As a 2nd round pick, it was understood that Banks would either be the team’s 2nd or 3rd corner on their roster. Ronde’s role was then reduced to either being the team’s 4th cornerback or battle to be their 3rd safety. Both of these positions would require a significant contribution on special teams.
As I stated immediately after the draft, the selection of Banks was either a sign that the Bucs knew Ronde would retire or a sign from the Bucs to Ronde Barber to just go ahead and retire. We might never know the full truth on this, but we do know that it was Mark Dominik’s responsibility to improve the weakness of his team, and he did just that.
Ronde Barber has been one of the great Buccaneers of all time.
His name will one day oversee the field at Raymond James Stadium.
As we cut that final string connecting the current Bucs to the Super Bowl Champion Bucs, we remember each player of that Super Bowl team that made life for Bucs fans very special during that run.
Yes, Ronde Barber needed to retire. Yes, it was time to go. Yes, his hand might have been forced by a team looking to improve.
No matter how it truly ended, we all knew the day would come.
It’s now time for the current players in the Buccaneers locker room to make their own legacy.
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