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Old 07-29-2010   #1
Wolf
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Default Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Let me just get this on your computer screen and right in your face as soon as I possibly can. Connor Barwin might just be the most important piece on the defensive side of the ball this year.

Stopping the run became much easier with the addition of Brian Cushing and Bernard Pollard last year and Antonio Smith and Mario Williams are built to play the run pretty effectively for their position. The problem is that the Texans finished 25th in the league in sacks after finishing 27th the year before. The Texans added five sacks to their total (from 25 to 30), but that's still not good enough when you look at the money and draft picks they have put into their defensive line.

This year things are going to get even more dangerous for the Texans. Dunta Robinson isn't the cover corner he used to be, but his departure this year will still weaken the secondary as they wait for Kareem Jackson to become a player and gain more experience. The best way to cover up for an inexperienced or average secondary is to rush the passer well. I've seen some teams with average to below average cornerbacks and these teams made the playoffs because their pass rush was so good (Indianapolis Colts, anyone?) and their secondary didn't have the cover as long.

Amobi Okoye hasn't proven he can consistently rush the passer, but at a lighter weight this year, I'm hopeful. I like the quickness of third-rounder Earl Mitchell at defensive tackle but he's still a rookie. Antonio Smith isn't much of a pass rusher as a defensive end, but he does create matchup problems when he is bumped down inside. Mario only had 9.5 sacks, but he should be better this year; however, Mario simply isn't a classic pass-rusher and I don't know if he ever will be. He'll post the numbers, but I'm not sure he can terrorize quarterbacks and left tackles.

Believe it or not, Barwin could be the guy who turns the Texans pass rush around. Last year in training camp, you could see that Barwin had terrific feet and much better quickness around the corner than the player some like to compare him to - Jason Babin. I thought Barwin looked terrific in the preseason.

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Old 07-29-2010   #2
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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I have to admit that I somewhat disagree with your premise that Barwin is the key to a better pass rush. Is he a key part on 3rd downs? Undoubtedly.

However, 3rd downs are, what, about 20-25% of snaps? Because Barwin can't (yet) be trusted against the run, you have to limit his snaps to a large extent. This is magnified due to his outside speed-rush tendencies, as you mentioned.

This is why I believe the onus of improving the pass rush must come from Smith, Mario, Okoye, Cody, and to a smaller extent, Mitchell and Bulman. In addition, we need to see a better scheme from Bush in getting players to the QB. Though we were more "aggressive" last year, moving away from Smith's read and react, we only slightly increased our blitzing.

With a secondary comprised of a rookie, 2nd year Quin, Pollard, and Eugene Wilson (sigh), we're going to need to pressure the QB to help the secondary.

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I think getting teams off the field on 3rd downs and not letting offenses extend drives has ramifcations that are far reaching on both sidees of the ball and that are magnified as a game goes on. I also think the Texans playing Ant. Smith inside on downs that weren't always 3rd down was an ominous sign of their displeasure with Okoye's performance and a nod to Smith's strength at the point of attack. I wouldn't be surprised to see more of that this year.


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Old 07-29-2010   #3
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

I really like what Barwin brings to the table. But I do share the concern relating to his run liability. Even with good inside run support, teams may concentrate end around plays to his side. Until he makes some significant gains in his rush defense acumen, I'm afraid that he will need to be relegated to obvious passing downs only.
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Old 07-29-2010   #4
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

Mario had more sacks than 9.5
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Old 07-29-2010   #5
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
I really like what Barwin brings to the table. But I do share the concern relating to his run liability. Even with good inside run support, teams may concentrate end around plays to his side. Until he makes some significant gains in his rush defense acumen, I'm afraid that he will need to be relegated to obvious passing downs only.
Honestly, if the coaches see a lot of improvement in his passrushing and he's seeing more snaps, I think the running part of his game will come around. I don't expect Barwin to totally lock down a DE spot all for himself this year, but he has a lot of potential coming into this year.
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Old 07-29-2010   #6
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Mario had more sacks than 9.5
Nope, he had less actually, 9.
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Old 07-30-2010   #7
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

Guys liek Barwin are what make teams like us vulnerable to 3rd down screens.

He is a pass rush specialist, a guy who goes all out around the corner to get to the QB.

Its great when its 3rd and long and the other team tries to pass

It hurts when they know Barwin's weakness and screen it on the right side.


When you have a team like the Texans who are consistently in the bottom half of the league ins acks, you get 3 things:
1. You become extremely vulnerable to screens draws
2. You get a lot of roughing the passer penalties
3. You give up big plays in the run game
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Old 07-30-2010   #8
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
Honestly, if the coaches see a lot of improvement in his passrushing and he's seeing more snaps, I think the running part of his game will come around. I don't expect Barwin to totally lock down a DE spot all for himself this year, but he has a lot of potential coming into this year.
Considering you've got Mario Williams on one end and Antonio Smith on the other...there's no chance in hell he secures a starting spot anytime soon.

At this point it's going to be a matter of how many snaps he can secure.

I've been on record saying I wasn't high on his selection, but at this point I just want him to be successful at getting to the QB as a pass rush specialist.

I also thought I've heard he might take on a more hybrid role this year?
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Old 07-30-2010   #9
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

The guy led all rookie defensive linemen in sacks last year.

To my eye, he played really well. I didn't see any problems with the way he played screens. He played them at least as well as any of our other linemen. I saw him deflect a couple of screen passes if anything.

So picking out Barwin as our weakness in the screen game, I think, is wrong. I think our historical weakness against screens, which has existed for many years now, has been more of an issue with team speed and the linebackers and safeties not taking care of their assignments.
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Old 07-30-2010   #10
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Guys liek Barwin are what make teams like us vulnerable to 3rd down screens.

He is a pass rush specialist, a guy who goes all out around the corner to get to the QB.

Its great when its 3rd and long and the other team tries to pass

It hurts when they know Barwin's weakness and screen it on the right side.


When you have a team like the Texans who are consistently in the bottom half of the league ins acks, you get 3 things:
1. You become extremely vulnerable to screens draws
2. You get a lot of roughing the passer penalties
3. You give up big plays in the run game
Very true, I remember he came in on a 3rd and 18 or something in the first Titans game last year and they ran a draw right at him. He completely overran the play opening up a gaping hole that turned into an 80+ yard TD.

I also saw a lot of good things out of Barwin through the course of the season. If he continues to develop we should have a good looking pass rush.
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Old 07-30-2010   #11
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Very true, I remember he came in on a 3rd and 18 or something in the first Titans game last year and they ran a draw right at him. He completely overran the play opening up a gaping hole that turned into an 80+ yard TD.

I also saw a lot of good things out of Barwin through the course of the season. If he continues to develop we should have a good looking pass rush.
Well hopefully he has learned and gained some experience from playing and makes him a better weapon this year.
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Old 07-30-2010   #12
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

Let me just get this on your computer screen and right in your face as soon as I possibly can. Connor Barwin might just be the most important piece on the defensive side of the ball this year.

Stopping the run became much easier with the addition of Brian Cushing and Bernard Pollard last year and Antonio Smith and Mario Williams are built to play the run pretty effectively for their position. The problem is that the Texans finished 25th in the league in sacks after finishing 27th the year before. The Texans added five sacks to their total (from 25 to 30), but that's still not good enough when you look at the money and draft picks they have put into their defensive line.

This year things are going to get even more dangerous for the Texans. Dunta Robinson isn't the cover corner he used to be, but his departure this year will still weaken the secondary as they wait for Kareem Jackson to become a player and gain more experience. The best way to cover up for an inexperienced or average secondary is to rush the passer well. I've seen some teams with average to below average cornerbacks and these teams made the playoffs because their pass rush was so good (Indianapolis Colts, anyone?) and their secondary didn't have the cover as long.

Amobi Okoye hasn't proven he can consistently rush the passer, but at a lighter weight this year, I'm hopeful. I like the quickness of third-rounder Earl Mitchell at defensive tackle but he's still a rookie. Antonio Smith isn't much of a pass rusher as a defensive end, but he does create matchup problems when he is bumped down inside. Mario only had 9.5 sacks, but he should be better this year; however, Mario simply isn't a classic pass-rusher and I don't know if he ever will be. He'll post the numbers, but I'm not sure he can terrorize quarterbacks and left tackles.

Believe it or not, Barwin could be the guy who turns the Texans pass rush around. Last year in training camp, you could see that Barwin had terrific feet and much better quickness around the corner than the player some like to compare him to - Jason Babin. I thought Barwin looked terrific in the preseason

Please son.....
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Old 07-30-2010   #13
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Very true, I remember he came in on a 3rd and 18 or something in the first Titans game last year and they ran a draw right at him. He completely overran the play opening up a gaping hole that turned into an 80+ yard TD.
I also saw a lot of good things out of Barwin through the course of the season. If he continues to develop we should have a good looking pass rush.
Damn you for reminding me about that....
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Old 07-30-2010   #14
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Damn you for reminding me about that....
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Old 07-30-2010   #15
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

yup Barwin was a reach of a second round pick. As high value pick we need someone to occasionally produce on one down.

Of course our 1st rnd pick from year before is looking that way as well...what was his name.....Christian Okoye??? I am still waiting for him to make plays
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Old 07-30-2010   #16
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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yup Barwin was a reach of a second round pick. As high value pick we need someone to occasionally produce on one down.

Of course our 1st rnd pick from year before is looking that way as well...what was his name.....Christian Okoye??? I am still waiting for him to make plays
I wish...........
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Old 07-30-2010   #17
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

This is definately the now or never year for Amobi Okoye, no question. I really feel that he and Connor Barwin are the keys to this defense.

Mario Williams has 36 sacks over the past three seasons with basically no help. I guess perhaps I just don't understand what a "classic" passrusher is supposed to be.

Everything defensively begins up front. When we have DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing on the field at the same time I dont know that there is a better pair of linebackers in the league. I like our young defensive backs - Glover Quin gave up zero TD passes last year with over 80 balls thrown his way. Im excited about Kareem Jackson and Bernard Pollard brought much needed toughness and leadership. However the difference between a competant defense and one that helps the Texans reach the playoffs is a pass rush that begins with the defensive line. Noone on the roster has the explosion off the ball that Barwin has - by the way, go back and look at Chris Johnson's run in Nashville last year. It was a draw up the middle (Shaun Cody)..Barwin didnt give it up. Barwin is the primary player who can bring the heat opposite Mario.
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Old 07-31-2010   #18
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Originally Posted by gtexan02 View Post
Guys liek Barwin are what make teams like us vulnerable to 3rd down screens.

He is a pass rush specialist, a guy who goes all out around the corner to get to the QB.

Its great when its 3rd and long and the other team tries to pass

It hurts when they know Barwin's weakness and screen it on the right side.


When you have a team like the Texans who are consistently in the bottom half of the league ins acks, you get 3 things:
1. You become extremely vulnerable to screens draws
2. You get a lot of roughing the passer penalties
3. You give up big plays in the run game
I don't get what you're saying here. I don't get how a lack of sacks leads to the things you've listed.

Also, the linebackers play a big role in screens and draws as well. As a defensive end it's about recognition and effort. Recognition being that you have to notice when a lineman is "screen blocking" you, and effort in that you have to turn and run and try to tackle the ball carrier from behind before he gets going. Hopefully a little experience will help him feel those situations better.

The Colts play an up the field type defensive Scheme too...Actually, both of their ends are more in the Connor Barwin mold vs. a Antonion Smith mold. Both of their ends go all out around the corner a lot of times too..I have not seen that be a big detriment to their defense...

Barwin was a rookie last year so of course he was gonna make a lot of mistakes. Personally, I don't think his style of play is a big problem for what we want him to do. If a team throws a screen to his side, he needs to react accordingly but stopping that screen is on the defense as a whole.
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Old 07-31-2010   #19
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Barwin was a rookie last year so of course he was gonna make a lot of mistakes.
To me this is it in a nutshell. It seems people are quick to forget that he was switched the the defensive side of the ball his senior year at Cincinnati.
It seems to me he has come a long way in a very short period of time; he is by no means a finished product. Who knows, he may end up a disappointment when its all said and done. However right now I like what I've seen, and I like the fact that he is a hard worker. I think the combination of his work ethic and natural ability will take him a long way. It usually does.
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Old 07-31-2010   #20
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Default Re: Connor Barwin, paging Connor Barwin...please report to the pass rushing area

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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
To me this is it in a nutshell. It seems people are quick to forget that he was switched the the defensive side of the ball his senior year at Cincinnati.
It seems to me he has come a long way in a very short period of time; he is by no means a finished product. Who knows, he may end up a disappointment when its all said and done. However right now I like what I've seen, and I like the fact that he is a hard worker. I think the combination of his work ethic and natural ability will take him a long way. It usually does.
But I think that sums up why some people are down on this pick. He's a project type of guy taken in the second round. You generally want a more polished player in that spot who's going to come in and make a difference.

With that said, I've been a Barwin fan since we picked him. I had him going earlier than our spot so I was happy to get him. I still consider the guy a first round talent even though he didn't have first round experience. So to me, he wasn't a reach.

Combine that with the fact that he got more sacks than any other rookie defensive linemen in the league and I think that verifies the fact that he was a great pick. Like you said, this kid is only going to get better and he could mature into one of the best pass rushers in the league. He's got a great motor and he works hard. I expect great things from him.
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