View Full Version : Barwin talks about 3rd-and-long, Kareem Jackson, Earl Mitchell

06-02-2010, 09:14 AM
Found this little nugget hiding inside a foxsports.com article (http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/white-russell-teamless-without-future-053010). It's not a lot of new news, but it's something at least:

Point No. 6: Houston won't make the playoffs this year if their defense doesn't step it up on third-down-and-long situations.

The Texans defense finished the year as the league's top defense at stopping teams on third down with less than four yards to go. But on third down situations when their opponents needed six or more yards to move the chains, they were ranked 31st in the league. That's a significant contrast, so I asked second-year defensive end Connor Barwin about that situation during a phone call this week. Barwin finished his rookie campaign with 4.5 sacks, second-best among rookie defensive linemen last year, despite being limited to playing primarily on pass-rush downs.

"My immediate reaction is that I've got to do better and get more pressure on the quarterback, because those third-and-six-or-more situations mean we need to get a better pass rush," he said.

Barwin was fully aware that the Texan's inability to close out a few games -- on both sides of the ball -- had cost the 9-7 team a playoff opportunity last year.

"As a team, we let three of four games get away from us after playing good enough to win after three and a half quarters," he said. "A couple of stops near the end of some of those games would have gotten us a win."

The speedy and athletic defender was also credited with six quarterback knockdowns and three hurries during his rookie season. And he expects to do even better this year.

"There's a lot less on my mind, I'm a lot more comfortable in my situation," he explained. "I've been focusing on putting on a little more weight and generally being a stronger player. Last season I played at 250, and I'm at 260 right now."

Barwin is also encouraged by the early showing by the Texans' top draft picks on the defensive side of the ball. With three of their first four selections, the team added cornerback Kareem Jackson, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and linebacker Darryl Sharpton.

I asked Barwin what he's noticed so far about Jackson, the team's top pick.

"Defensive linemen don't typically comment on coverages that often," he said with a laugh. "He's running with the first team and he's doing well out there as far as I can tell."

But he's definitely taken note of fellow defensive lineman Earl Mitchell, the team's third-round pick.

"I see why they drafted him. For a defensive tackle, when he opens it up he can really move," he said.

Keep your eye on Barwin and the Texans this year. I like his chances to substantially raise his profile during his sophomore campaign while the Texans make the necessary improvements on both sides of the ball to qualify for their first playoff appearance in franchise history.

06-02-2010, 10:17 AM
Good stuff, always funny to hear what the players think of their own situation.

Thanks for finding this lil' thing :)

nero THE zero
06-02-2010, 11:39 AM
I agree, I really believe Barwin will be a break out player this year. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him notch double digits. Hell, I actually expect it.

06-02-2010, 11:46 AM
Took too long for link to open so thanks for summarizing. I really hope Barwin does not have to look around and evaluate Jackson very often. Both players should contribute to the D being improved.

06-02-2010, 02:13 PM
Nice to see he added a little more sand in his pants. Hopefully his speed will be a bit more beneficial with a year under his belt.

06-03-2010, 03:12 PM
Nice to see he added a little more sand in his pants. Hopefully his speed will be a bit more beneficial with a year under his belt.

I'm always worried about players adding weight, especially when speed is a big part of their game. 10 lbs of muscle would be awesome... but it's a little on the high side to be all muscle. 5 to 6 wouldn't be bad.

But when a guy like Amobi or Slaton start talking about being 15lbs heavier, and their speed suffers... then they drop it really quick... chances are, it wasn't muscle. Not even mostly.