Brees weary of Ronde Barber's ball hogging

Posted by GARY ESTWICK on October 18, 2012 

Saints QB Drew Brees is preparing to face one of his oldest NFC South nemeses. Wait, who are we kidding - safety Ronde Barber is the oldest.

Barber turned 37 before the season, and he's no placekicker. He is still a playmaker. 

Just last week, Barber caught his second interception of the season, the 45th of his 16-year career. On the play, a ball bounced off the leg of Kansas City receiver Dexter McCluster, hit a Tampa Bay defender never hit the ground. That's where Barber grabbed it and scored on a 78-yard touchdown.

It's no wonder Brees plans to keep his eyes out for Barber, the same as he did when playing Green Bay's Charles Woodson, another former cornerback who moved to safety.

"There are certain things, obviously, that a safety does where you are playing deep middle or you're a deep half player or a little bit different than what he's done in his career as a corner," Brees said. "Then you get into nickel situations and he is in and around the box and he's over the slot and he does all of the things that he's done forever." 

One moment, Barber could be roaming the field, trying to follow the eyes and progressions of Brees. The next, he could be on a delayed blitz, trying to add to his sack total - his 28 rank second all-time for defensive backs. Only safety Rodney Harrison (30.5) has more.  

Barber, a five-time Pro Bowler, has helped Tampa Bay tally eight interceptions this season, placing the Buccaneers in a four-way tie for fifth place in the NFL. Tampa Bay also ranks in a two-way tie for sixth in the league in takeaways (10).

And of course, he is still viable in the run game. Barber has collected 100 or more tackles during six of the last nine seasons. He's even coached: when defensive back coach Jimmy Lake suffered a knee injury during the game, Barber took over coaching responsibilities from the sideline. 

Not bad for an old guy.

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