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Old 08-13-2009   #1
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Default Barber challenging for the starting role

Good article from the Chronic. I had a feeling Barber was going to turn out to be a good draft pick.

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After the night practice last week, Texans coach Gary Kubiak suggested to his players they sign autographs for the fans for five minutes.

Safety Dominique Barber stayed for 35.

“It always impresses me how many people come out just to watch us practice,” Barber said. “They have so much excitement, and you have to take some time to appreciate that.”

Barber was the last player signing autographs, and he narrowly outlasted fellow safety Nick Ferguson by a few minutes. Both players stayed so long that it started to feel like a competition, which is what they've been doing on the field for the past two weeks.

Ferguson, a 10-year veteran, was the assumed starter coming into training camp, but because of his stellar play, Barber has been getting the most reps lately with the first team.

Progress report
Last season, as a sixth-round pick out of Minnesota, Barber played in 12 games and had four starts. He was impressive on special teams, but right now, he looks prepared to make the transition to a full-time safety.

“We're trying to give reps to guys we see earning those reps,” Kubiak said. “Dominique has had that kind of camp, and we're going to give those guys opportunities.”

Barber, a Minnesota native, grew up playing hockey. As a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan, Barber was crushed when they lost the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh in June. But other than watching hockey, Barber improved his value to the team over the summer. He gives most of the credit to defensive backs coach David Gibbs, whom Barber calls a mentor who has improved his physical presence.

“He helps me tremendously,” Barber said. “He has us do corner drills to work on getting quicker feet, and he's just an excellent technician in helping me improve.”

And not only his physical game, but the coaches say Barber has made unexpectedly huge strides mentally.

“Dominique is pushing Nick right now,” Kubiak said. “Nick's a pro, so it'll be a heck of a battle. I'm just impressed with how much progress Dominique has made.”

Barber downplays the competition with Ferguson, and he modestly brushes it off when Kubiak's compliments are relayed to him.

“That's pretty cool for the head coach to say good things about you,” Barber said. “We're out there battling, but it's definitely not my spot to keep. So I'm just trying to make big plays, and it's a fun challenge that elevates your game.”

Many have written off Barber's ability to cover a lot of ground as a luxury of his natural athleticism. His brother, Marion, is the starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys, so there's a distinctive football genealogy, but Kubiak says that ability comes more from the mental aspect.

Student of the game
“Players that really know what's going on, smart to schemes, smart to routes, those are the guys who cover the most ground,” Kubiak said. “Nick has seen routes for many, many years. Dominique, not so many, so I think he's going to only get better.”

While he might not have the NFL experience yet, Barber has the capacity to make himself better. He's an articulate student of the game who seems passionate about bettering the Texans.

“I'm just competing to get on the field and help our team,” Barber said. “Whether it be starting or backup or special teams, I just want to do whatever I can.”
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Old 08-13-2009   #2
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

Yup. He brings some size and speed to the table right up front. We'll see if he can turn into that blanket over the top or put some fear into the opposing WRs lives...

Somebody has got to make some strides in the back. Wilson is who he is already, same with Ferg. I'm not looking to Harrison to be anything other than a big guy and Troy Nolan is a rookie 7th round pick so I won't be setting the bar high there either. I think Barber's got enough experience to take the next step forward with enough attributes to be a playmaker.
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Old 08-13-2009   #3
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

The only problem I have with this is that Kubiak says great things about everyone during training camp. He always paints a rosey picture during training camp and says that everyone is improving. We'd win the Super Bowl every year if you went strictly by what Kubiak says about our players during camp. I hope that I'm wrong but Barber wasn't very good last year and Ferguson isn't a great player to be comparing him to. Hopefully Kubiak is right and he can improve and be a good starter.
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Old 08-13-2009   #4
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

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Originally Posted by Wolf6151 View Post
The only problem I have with this is that Kubiak says great things about everyone during training camp. He always paints a rosey picture during training camp and says that everyone is improving. We'd win the Super Bowl every year if you went strictly by what Kubiak says about our players during camp. I hope that I'm wrong but Barber wasn't very good last year and Ferguson isn't a great player to be comparing him to. Hopefully Kubiak is right and he can improve and be a good starter.
I think players have to earn Kubiak's praise to get mentioned. Travis Johnson certainly hasn't been mentioned in a positive light in about a year.
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Old 08-13-2009   #5
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

Not that it makes a difference (yet), but Kubiak said Barber will start Saturday.
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Old 08-13-2009   #6
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

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Originally Posted by Wolf6151 View Post
The only problem I have with this is that Kubiak says great things about everyone during training camp. He always paints a rosey picture during training camp and says that everyone is improving. We'd win the Super Bowl every year if you went strictly by what Kubiak says about our players during camp. I hope that I'm wrong but Barber wasn't very good last year and Ferguson isn't a great player to be comparing him to. Hopefully Kubiak is right and he can improve and be a good starter.
What is he supposed to do, come out and list his deficiencies? Ferguson is on the downside of decent but he was a band-aid, is a band-aid and will continue to be a band-aid. If Barber is pushing for time and apparently:

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Kubiak said Barber will start Saturday.
also mentioned on 610 he's been practicing with the 1s as much as Ferg I'm thinking I'm not going to make sweeping judgments on a 6th round pick who was a rookie getting some reps at the end of the season (when the defense starting picking up no-less. I'm not saying he was a part of it, I'm saying he wasn't not a part of it). I'll yield to Kubiak's decision on this one.
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Old 08-14-2009   #7
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

I named him in the breakout players thread. Nostravinny at work!
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Old 08-14-2009   #8
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

This is one of those late round picks, thrown by the wayside, no real hope put into him for our future by me... and just wait and see if he comes up out of no where eventually and becomes a diamond in the ruff for us.

I like what I am hearing so far this year. Still a ways to go.
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Old 08-14-2009   #9
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

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Originally Posted by Vinny View Post
I named him in the breakout players thread. Nostravinny at work!
You also called DeMeco's ROY. Have you made plans past December 12, 2012?
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Old 08-14-2009   #10
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

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Originally Posted by mexican_texan View Post
You also called DeMeco's ROY. Have you made plans past December 12, 2012?
No, but I have some swampland in Florida I'd be willing to part with.
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Old 08-14-2009   #11
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Default Re: Barber challenging for the starting role

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You also called DeMeco's ROY. Have you made plans past December 12, 2012?
it's the 21st, not the 12th, amigo.
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