The league's most durable player received some recognition Wednesday when Buccaneers CB Ronde Barber was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in Tampa Bay's 16-13 victory against Atlanta.
Barber, who has started 186 consecutive games, registered his 41st career interception, recovered a fumble, made four tackles and defended five passes against the Falcons, often matching up against Pro Bowl TE Tony Gonzalez.
"I'm glad it was with a win,'' Barber said. "I'm always humble with these types of awards, but it's nice to be recognized. It was a huge game for us, a step in the right direction. I think we showcased some of our young talent and some of our will.''
Heading into the home matchup against Indianapolis, Barber is seeking his third consecutive "Monday Night Football" game with an interception.
"It was an unbelievable performance,'' Bucs secondary coach Jimmy Lake said. "There were a lot of things that didn't even show up on the stat sheet. We had Ronde on him (Gonzalez) all game, two future Hall of Famers, and Ronde did a phenomenal job.''
Favored by 10 points in Monday night's matchup, the Bucs are wary of a letdown against the Colts. With future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning out with a neck injury, Indy is off to an 0-3 start, averaging only 15 points per game. Backup Kerry Collins sustained a possible concussion against Pittsburgh and QB Curtis Painter could make his first pro start.
"I know how hungry they're going to be and it's going to be on prime time,'' said Bucs LT Donald Penn, who faces Pro Bowl DE Dwight Freeney. "We're going to get their best game.''
Penn has started in 63 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak among active NFL tackles.
The punchless Colts still have one of the NFL's elite wide receivers in Reggie Wayne and RB Joseph Addai is off to a good start.
"They're a different team without Peyton,'' Barber said, "but we're still going to prepare for them like they're the team that's dominated the NFL for so many years. Manning was definitely the cog that made that offense go, but we're not going to take them lightly.''
Cody Grimm's 2011 season ended Wednesday when the Bucs placed the second-year safety on injured reserve and promoted TE Colin Franklin from the practice squad to their active roster.
Grimm injured his right knee midway through Sunday's victory against Atlanta. Corey Lynch and Larry Asante are competing in practice for the right to replace Grimm in the starting lineup.
Grimm, a seventh-round pick out of Virginia Tech in 2010, saw his rookie season end prematurely when he broke his left leg in a Week 12 game at Baltimore.
"Obviously, we're sad about Cody,'' Lynch said. "You hate to see a friend and teammate go down.''
Tampa Bay also signed offensive lineman Zane Taylor to the practice squad.
A London-based film crew from Sky Sports News is in Tampa this week for a look at the Bucs before Tampa Bay faces the Bears on Oct. 23 at Wembley Stadium. … Falcons S William Moore said he was fined $7,500 by the league for his fourth-quarter hit against Bucs QB Josh Freeman on Sunday. … Freeney is only three sacks away from the 100-sack mark for his glittering 10-year career and fellow DE Robert Mathis boasts 18 multiple-sack games in his nine-year career
Ira Kaufman, Roy Cummings, Anwar S. Richardson