Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Barber: Change Could Be Good
TAMPA - Ronde Barber hated to see Monte Kiffin go. The Bucs Pro Bowl cornerback has a feeling, though, that Kiffin's departure will prove to be a good thing for Tampa Bay's defense. "I have a great fondness for Monte," Barber said Friday of the Bucs' former defensive coordinator. "He did a lot of great things for our defense for 12 years. But 12 years of the same thing - people start figuring you out. "That's not to say our defense wasn't innovative or that we didn't get things done. We were very consistent. But for me personally, it's almost like I'm changing teams now. "Kiffin and new Bucs coordinator Jim Bates are similar in a lot of ways, but we'll do a lot of different things now. We'll probably be a little more aggressive. We take a few more chances. I think we all look forward to that."One of the things Barber says he's most looking forward to is finding out what his role will be under Bates. He said he and Bates have spoken but that true roles have yet to be defined. "As far as how the change affects me personally, I don't know," Barber said. "I don't know if I'll be as much of a blitzer as I was under Kiffin or less of one. "But I do think that when I'm playing corner I'm going to have my share of opportunities to make plays. And I think guys like T-Jack safety Tanard Jackson are really going to thrive in this defense." Bates is known for running a 4-3 scheme that calls for a lot of blitzing from the linebackers and defensive backs. He's big on pressuring the quarterback and forcing turnovers by making plays on the ball in the secondary. Those plays probably won't come from playing the Tampa 2, though. Barber said Bates is most likely to employ a "quarters" scheme. The difference is that the field is divided into four zones, or quarters, instead of two halves. "I know he's more of a quarters guy, but we were kind of going towards that anyway," Barber said. "And he doesn't like to put corners and safeties out there on an island. "He's actually a lot more like Monte than a lot of people want to give him credit for, but he's a little more aggressive with his blitz packages and he likes to be aggressive at the line of scrimmage." While on the subject of being aggressive, Barber suggested the Bucs will have to take an aggressive approach to free agency and the draft if they want to get into the running for the 2010 Super Bowl. "We need some impact players, and I know Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik are spending the offseason trying to find those guys," he said. "The team will have a different landscape next year."
Reporter Roy Cummings can be reached at (813) 259-7979.