Connor Barwin signed with the Eagles back in March. He was looking for big money from someone, but didn’t find it. The Eagles worked out a good deal with him. This could prove to be a crucial move.
Barwin is slated to be the LOLB, primarily the SAM. He has 3 key jobs:
1 – Set the edge
2 – Rush the passer
3 – Cover TEs and RBs
Barwin has the best combination of experience and athleticism among the Eagles LBs.
There is another reason to like Barwin. He moved from DE to LB. And he was on a team that changed from the 4-3 to the 3-4. I would imagine Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have asked Barwin more than a few questions. Let’s hope he’s a good teacher.
Barwin had 11.5 sacks in 2011 and that got him a big reputation, but 4 of those sacks came in a single game against the Jaguars. I don’t know if Barwin is truly a 10-sack guy.
I think a realistic expectation for him this year is to get 6 to 8 sacks, play good run D and do a solid job in coverage. I’d love for Barwin to be a force off the edge, but there is a reason he didn’t get the mega-deal that some expected. He isn’t an explosive pass rusher. He has some quickness and a very good motor, but those traits don’t get you mega-deals.
One interesting statistical note…in 2011 Barwin had 1 TFL. Last year he had 7. I don’t know if that is the JJ Watt effect or if he was just more of a playmaker against the run because he understood the 3-4 scheme better.
It is funny to hear him say that defensive players hate the OTAs. No hitting. No tackling. What was it like to watch Wes, Andre, Seth and the Gang run around in shorts without being able to hit? That must have been pure torture for them.
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If Connor ever gets too cocky, which doesn’t seem likely at all, just bring up this basketball highlight: