When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began training camp, head coach Lovie Smith said he wanted to see more out of strong safety Mark Barron in terms of coverage skills. Barron’s response? Three interceptions in camp so far — not bad for a guy coming off knee surgery. Here, Barron talks about the adjustment into the new scheme and the increased emphasis on forcing turnovers in this defense.
“We didn’t have him in the offseason,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “He was injured and missed the entire offseason from a workout standpoint. To have him here in training camp, working as hard as he’s working and making the plays that he’s making, we’re expecting big things from him. He’s a very talented guy, a smart football player and physical. He’s made some big plays out here in practice. We’re looking forward to him having a great season.”
The Bucs’ Tampa-2 defense emphasizes strong play down the middle of the field. Safeties are asked to not only drop deep into coverage but to be effective run stoppers.
“Does the system play to his strength? Absolutely,” said Smith. “I’ve heard [the media] talk a lot about Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy being compared to two Hall of Famers. But we had another great safety here in John Lynch also. Mark Barron – he looks the part. Very pleased with him. I really like what he did at Alabama when he came out. He had a good season last year. But it’s ahead of him. What we need: we need a big, strong safety. He’ll be down into the box. He went three days and had interceptions on three days. He has good hands for a big guy. I could talk about Mark for quite a while, as you can see, but we like the direction he’s going.”