It’s rare that you will ever see a game where two top ten selected safeties will battle it out. In fact, there are only three in the entire league in Mark Barron, Eric Berry and LaRon Landry. This past week. we got to see two face off against each other as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Kansas City Chiefs.
In the past week leading up to the game, I said that Barron was going to be a big factor going in, but even I was shocked by his performance this past Sunday. Not only was he an integral part on the defense in containing Jamaal Charles to less than 50 yards, but he came away with his first career interception.
Barron outplayed Berry, a fellow first rounder, and former South Eastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Minus a couple of tackles, Berry was fairly silent the entire game. Josh Freeman even tore the Chiefs secondary up for over 300 yards, in what might have been Freeman’s most prolific game to date as a pro.
Barron came down into the box and sniffed out run plays, making tackle after tackle. There aren’t many players in the league who possess the versatility and size that Barron does, and it’s obvious why he was so venerated by the Buccaneers, and many other teams across the league.
For the first four games Barron played well, but it’s based on little things, not making the splash plays. Last week he broke through and tackled Robert Griffin III for loss, which was called back on a terrible unnecessary roughness call. That play seemed to get things started for him, as he played one of the better games I have ever seen from a safety this past week.
If Barron can keep his play up, it will be difficult to keep his name out of conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The biggest challenge for him, will be to keep his play up throughout the season, and hope that a fellow Buccaneer doesn’t take that award from him.
That player I’m referring to is Lavonte David. Like Barron, he has played every defensive snap so far for the Bucs and has done an amazing job doing so. Barron will have to fight off David as well as the play of some other rookies, but if he continues to have games like he did yesterday, Rookie of the Year won’t be the only thing he’ll be awarded this season.