Connor Barwin

Posted: June 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 45 Comments »

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.

Chris McPherson did an interview with Barwin and got a couple of interesting nuggets from him.

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.

* * * * *

If Connor ever gets too cocky, which doesn’t seem likely at all, just bring up this basketball highlight:

BLOCKED!!!

_


  • jshort

    Talk about a change the subject article. I read every comment in Buying in. What’s this, white guys can’t jump?

    • TommyLawlor

      Haven’t watched that movie in a while. Am I nuts or was a sub-plot Rosie Perez on Jeopardy?

      • Mac

        Pretty sure you are nuts, but I will agree with you on the Jeopardy sub-plot.

        • GEagle

          “Biiiiiiiilllllyyyy I want to screw” (In my best rosie Perez voice)

  • Tumtum

    Someone give that man a contract.

  • Mortong

    Graham has shown more elite edge rusher potential in his time in the NFL than Barwin has. In every year they’ve played, Graham has been better generating pressure per snap than Barwin. Additionally Profootballfocus has rated him a better run defender in those years.

    Aside from supposed 3-4 “experience” there is no good reason for Barwin to start over Graham at any position.

    • jshort

      That’s two out of three. If he is able to cover the TE;s and backs then he should start.

    • goeagles55

      Graham needs to show he can cover. He’ll have a shot to earn a starting spot once real practices begin. I hope he’s able to win one of the starting jobs.


      By the way, I have never appreciated Morton’s way of posting less popular opinions more than the last few days. Citing PFF is a much better argument than all caps, name-calling, and a condescending tone.

      • Mortong

        Coverage is by far the least important responsibility of any OLB. Would you rather have an elite pass rusher who is mediocre in coverage or a mediocre pass rusher who’s good in coverage?

        A typical 3-4 OLB will spend less than 15% of his snaps in coverage. Even if Graham can’t cover I’d rather have him as the starter over someone who is a worse pass rusher and worse run defender.

        • Iskar36

          Your question of elite pass rusher vs. mediocre pass rusher is fair, (you take the elite pass rusher), but I think you are making a few implied assumptions when relating that question to Graham.

          First off, Graham is not an elite pass rusher. He showed some promising signs last season, but we are still talking about a DE who had a total of just 5.5 sacks. That is not remotely close to elite. The obvious counter argument to that is the fact that he was a backup and got significantly less reps than other pass rushers. While that is true, and I would expect his number to be greater with more reps, I would question any argument that believes his numbers would scale up linearly (in other words, if he had twice the number of snaps, I don’t think you can say he would have had twice the number of sacks). We have no idea how Graham would hold up as the starter over the entire season. In addition, as the starter, teams would put a little added focus on studying his game which would mean Graham would have to develop counter moves to what teams see on tape if he wants to remain productive.

          Second off, we don’t know whether or not Graham can even be mediocre in coverage. Certainly the hope is that he can, but he could be flat out terrible in coverage and then it starts to become a liability on the defense. In addition, as of right now, he is playing the LOLB, who primarily will be the SAM. Based on what Davis has done in the past, the SAM is in coverage closer to 30% of the time rather than 15%. You are right that the pass rushing ability still outweighs the coverage ability, but unless he moves to the predator spot, you can’t simply ignore coverage ability (to be fair, I think more than a few people think he could end up moving to LOLB eventually, where your 15% is actually slightly higher than what Davis has done in the past I believe).

          Third off, Graham showed positive signs as a pass rusher as a Wide 9 and/or 4-3 DE. While there are plenty of similarities with the OLB position in a 3-4, there are also plenty of differences. We can’t simply assume that a good 4-3 DE will end up being a good 3-4 OLB. He COULD end up being fine as a pass rusher from the OLB spot. He could even end up benefiting coming from a 2 point stance with different angles and different spacing, but until we see him do it with pads on in practice, or even more so in a game, we will not know if he can translate his pass rushing skills fully to his new position.

          I would love to see Graham thrive in the new system, and I certainly was encouraged by him at the end of last season, but I think there is still way to many unknowns with Graham to be able to convincingly say whether or not he will succeed in the new scheme.

          • GEagle

            All fair points..However I cringe whenever I hear someone measure pass rush by sack totals. I hate it, and it really is not indicative of how effective you are as a pass rusher. We certainly cant say for a fact that Graham and Cox will be great pass rushers, but we have seen some encouraging signs.
            ..
            I genuinly believe Graham when he talks about how Hungry he is. That kid clearly “wants it”. If it werent for the fact that I have no idea how much the knee surgeries took out of his physical ability, I would be certain that kid would turn into a beast. He had real first round talent, and when you are that hungry, and you work hard, eventually it “clicks”. We are so fortunate that in 2013 we are privy to pressure percentage stats, that its borderline archaeic to talk about pass rushers in terms of sacks. Graham’s Pressure percentage was off the charts, and the amount of penalties he cause Olinemen to commit ,back that up…He hasnt given me any indication that he is content and is any less hungry then he has been.
            ..
            We certainly cant say for sure that his numbers would have just doubled if his playing time doubled. That remains to be seen. But it is encouraging to know that his ability isnt what kept him off the Field. He had a coach who was hell bent on playing the big money veterans. All we can ask is a player to make the most out of the snaps he was given, and no one did that better than Brandon Graham in 2012. Hopefully it continues. Young players show the most growth between the 1st three years thatt hey get playing time.
            ..
            I also think that OTAs have skewed peoples views on how Graham will end up being used(just my guess). I dont see why a coach would disrespect one of our longest tenured Veterans in Cole, by benching him in favor of Graham during the Ota learning period…but all that goes out the windown when its time to pick regular season starters after Camp and preseason. I expect it to be difficult for Cole to keep Graham off the field this year. I also think only 1 of our OLBs will be dropping back in coverage, and the other one will always be rushing(just my guess)..I expect Graham to win that predator Role..Barwin is the only OLB with any sort of experience dropping back. In case of an injury, they had better be trying to teach other OLBs how to drop in coverage, and May is the time to do it..
            ..
            But when everyone is healthy, my guess is that Barwin and Graham will be the starting OLB’s, and as long as Barwin is Healthy, Graham and Cole will hardly ever drop, unless they take the flat on a zone blitz…Lets not forget about Kendricks. I know he is technically a Wil right now, but he will be moved around and those at PBU as a rookie will not go to waste. Expect Kendricks to see plenty of time against TE, inspite of the fact that his position doesnt traditionally call for it

          • GEagle

            BTW, anyone know the pressure percentage number for Fletcher Cox Last year?

          • Iskar36

            The other major obstacle that Graham has to overcome that you did not address is that IF he does end up as the ROLB and primarily the predator (which I acknowledged is a very real possibility), that would be one of the first times he would be playing on the right side going up against LTs. You’re now talking about going up against significantly better pass blockers and we have no idea how he will handle the right side. You could potentially also argue that the reason he hasn’t been moved to ROLB is because the coaches don’t feel he can be as successful there (again, TC will really be were we get an answer to that question).

            Don’t get me wrong. I do like what I hear from Graham. I agree that he shows a lot of good signs and he gives us reason to be excited about him. But like I said before, I just think there are simple so many unknowns right now to be confident in how good of a player he can become in this scheme right now.

          • GEagle

            i cant disagree at all. Its certainly an Unknown, but in my eyes there is a decent level of encouragement..
            ..
            I will say that I think the league is gradually getting away from the concept that the LT is so much more important than the RT, but generally speaking yes, you probably stil do run into better pass blockers on the Right side…This is just a projection, but I have a feeling that the extra space to work with when rushing the passer will help his game(but I certainly good be wrong about that)..
            ..
            What I like about Graham, is I dont expect him to be a demeco type who will go through the motions during the preseason. Expect Graham to start the preseason foaming at the mouth, so he is one of the players we can judge better from his preseason perfomance..
            ..
            It also helps that we will probably see alot of 4man fronts, so guys like Cole/Graham can still do what we know they are capable of. Im very curious to see how our personel is decided for the 4man line. Barwin is our most trusted OLB(IMO) who also used to play DE..Does he come off the field for Graha and Cole when we go to the 4man front? So many Questions..cant wait for some real concrete answers
            @Neil: I did notice that graham started to incorporate a nice spin move last year. Still has moves, and counter moves to learn/improve on. I would also like to see him start to use his lack of height as a weapon more, and really get under his opponents pads gaining the leverage advantage more consistently then he has been..

          • Mortong

            In the NFL there is very little distinction between RTs and LTs anymore. Great athletes play on both sides.

          • Iskar36

            RTs are closing the gap, but all you have to do is look at how the NFL pays LTs vs. RTs and you can see that the best olineman is going to play LT rather than RT. There is still a significant difference in talent on the two sides.

          • Mortong

            I’m not talking about sack totals when analyzing Graham’s 2012. this is all based on PFFs pass rush productivity rating which measures total pressure. (Sacks hits hurries ) per snap. Additionally, Pffs player grades

          • Neil

            To add to Iskar’s post and reiterate Tommy’s (and my) opinion of the film, there’s nothing elite about Graham athletically. He’s a good player who gives 110%, who had really good outcomes in limited snaps. No elite burst, no elite closing speed, too short, about the only thing that makes you salivate is his bull rush. I won’t be surprised if he wins a starting job, and I would be shocked if he plays less than about 40% of snaps in the rotation even if he doesn’t because of his competition, but he’s not a star player.

          • Mortong

            He is a good athlete though. Elite short shuttle, great 40 time. and even if he isn’t Von Miller athletically, he can still be a star player. His game is strength, leverage and quickness. He is elite in all of those. Physically and skills-wise he profiles like a young John Randle.

          • Neil

            No, that was before microfracture surgery. He’s a different player now, sadly.

          • Neil

            I should also add, during his rookie season, I definitely thought he looked like a star in the making.

      • dropscience

        I’d upvote this 100 more times if I could.

      • GEagle

        I doubt Graham will even be used in Coverage…that’s Barwins job!!! Trent won’t be able to keep Graham of the field

    • DanJ3645

      After training camp, given Barwin’s contract, I’m sure that if Graham has proven to be better he will be the starter.

      • Mac

        “The players will set the depth chart”

  • ceedubya9

    Okay, that shot block wasn’t fair. He hadn’t reached the apex of his jumper yet. That defensive player clearly has ESP :)

    • TommyLawlor

      Pre-shot read.

  • Iskar36

    Jimmy put up a few things on Barwin that are worth looking at:

    Here is just a video of Barwin’s 11.5 sacks in 2011:

    http://bloggingthebeast.com/2013/04/07/video-of-connor-barwins-11-5-sacks-in-2011/

    and Jimmy also charted his 11.5 sacks. Definitely worth the read:

    http://bloggingthebeast.com/2013/03/22/charting-connor-barwins-11-5-sacks-in-2011/

    • matthew Verhoog

      I enjoy when Jimmy does useful things that require more time then intelligence.

  • barneygoogle

    Barwin is really a critical player, here. We have few playmakers (pray Kenny Phillips stays healthy), and I don’t think this defense will generate enough turnovers–but at least they will tackle. Last season was dreadful. But you can’t overhaul an entire team in one off-season–maybe next year, the defense will add more playmakers. In the meantime, let’s hope we can win the 34-to-31 games!

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t think the defense will be awful, but I do think they’ll have some rough games.

    • Mitchell

      Although I am excited that Billy Davis’ defense is predicated on turnovers. Should be fun to watch. We have to generate more turnovers than last year right? Right!?!?

      • TommyLawlor

        I’m pretty sure it is mathematically impossible to create fewer turnovers.

        • barneygoogle

          Well, there’s an old saying–the best defense is a good running game. We may have that.

        • Mitchell

          The only reason we didn’t have any last year was because it was the year if the dragon, Venus was perfectly aligned with Jupiter for much of the season, nnamdii got in trouble with some voodoo from his trips to Louisiana, and Nate Allen forgot to give sacrifice to the “takeaway god.” That’s what really happened.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            lol that last part reminds me of the Major League movies with the one guy trying to sacrifice a chicken.

      • matthew Verhoog

        We should trade Bryce Brown to the cowboys, in an effort to get more turnovers.

        • TommyLawlor

          Genius.

  • bsuperfi

    I’d be happy if Barwin gave us a bit more than holding down the fort. If the LB core stays healthy, it could be pretty good. Best case scenario in my mind is that Kendricks is the main playmaker. But this won’t happen unless Barwin does his job. Extra playmaking on top of covering up his space is gravy.

    That said, Barwin is a critical foundation of the defense. If he doesn’t perform at least solidly, the rest of the defense could be in trouble. I guess I think he’s necessary but not sufficient for a serious defensive improvement.

    • MediaMike

      Watching Kendricks be deployed from all over the formation should be fun. I know having him sit still won’t work because it’ll have too many Guards / Centers getting on him 1 on 1 in the 2nd level on run plays.

  • GEagle

    I’m really high on Barwin..iM high on 5 out of 7 on the front seven. Barwin is just Philly built tough madman. love the addition, never I my wildest imagination did I think we could land him…loved his interview yesterday

  • GEagle

    Surprised that the Desean crap storm hasn’t started yet after his recent comments. Lol I think I will let someone else start it

    • barneygoogle

      What doesn’t Jackson get? Kelly said he will decide the QB when he is ready. He wants someone to stand out, earn it.
      I think we are going to see a lot of players leave this team after the 2013 season, after Kelly has had a year with them. 2014 may be as big a year of change for the Birds as 2013 already is.

      • GEagle

        unfortunately Im starting to get the same feeling. Wish Chip would just crucify a popular player today and put an end to the chirping. Make mes jealous of the Patriots who practically put a GaG order on its players..
        ..
        Anyone remember the offseasonb when the niners hired Harbaugh? That team sucked, and Jim came into the league as a psychotic college coach lol, would love to go back and read the comments from niners players during that first offseason..
        ,,,
        I have reached the point that I dont care who you are, how good you are, what you can do..stfu, or gtfo here! Get down or Lay down!

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