Mark Barron, Ronde Barber forging a quick bond for Bucs

AP

The Buccaneers thought Mark Barron was a mature playmaker when they drafted him seventh overall.

But just to make sure, they’re placing him next to Ronde Barber to make sure his education is complete.

The young and old of the Bucs defense is off to a quick start, impressing coaches with the way they’re working together at safety.

“Ronde understands the principles of football so well and we couldn’t have a better situation as far as a guy like Mark being with a guy like Ronde,” Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan told Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “Mark’s a real smart kid coming from a great system and Ronde’s doing the majority of our orchestrating back there. There’s a nice little chemistry developing between the two.”

Of course, Barber’s making a bit of an adjustment himself, moving inside to safety after 15 years at cornerback, giving him something to prove as well.

“I want to play and I want to win,” the 37-year-old Barber said. “It’s not often you get to find new challenges in your 16th year, new opportunities to prove yourself.”

Getting the two together will hopefully be one of the first steps toward fixing a defense that allowed the most points in franchise history, and will allow Barber to pass the torch to the next generation of leadership.