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Tampa Bay Bucs could send Ronde Barber to corner

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make a run to swipe a playoff spot, they will face some of the NFL's most dangerous passers over the season's final five weeks, including Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and this Sunday's opponent, Peyton Manning.

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The Bucs' rush defense is ranked first overall, giving up just 81.5 yards per game. However, the secondary has been a sieve all season, ranked dead last in pass defense, giving up 315.5 yards per game.

With the trade of cornerback Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots and Eric Wright's four-game suspension, the question of whether the ageless Ronde Barber will move back to corner has become a hot topic in Tampa.

"I'm sure I could step back in there," Barber said Wednesday, via the Tampa Tribune. "I've paid attention to what they're doing over there."

Coach Greg Schiano has resisted moving the 16-year pro back to corner since Barber has turned into such a playmaker in his first year at safety, with four interceptions. But with Ahmad Black flashing some ability at the safety position, it's become tempting to move Barber back to his old position.

"Black has played a lot of football for us now -- 11 games -- so (using Barber in the slot) is a viable option if we want to rotate," Schiano said. "We do have some flexibility there."

The Bucs' offense has been dynamic enough to push them into playoff contention, but the secondary will need to improve its play if Tampa is to earn the final Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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