Antwan Barnes Excited About Joining the Jets

New Jet linebacker Antwan Barnes talked with Eric Allen and Randy Lange at the Jets official website and he spoke about his relationship with Rex Ryan and his desire to find a role with the Jets defense this fall.

“It’s a pleasure,” Barnes said in his first public remarks — other than via Twitter — about becoming a Jets linebacker via unrestricted free agency. Signing with the team, he said, was “something that I wanted to do. Rex was trying to get me two years ago but I turned him down. So when the opportunity came up again, I told him I wasn’t going to turn him down this time.”

Barnes’ relationship with the Jets head coach goes back to his first team, the Ravens, who drafted him in the fourth round, 134th overall, in the ’07 draft and added him to their defense, then being coordinated by Rex.

“This is pretty much the only team I wanted to talk to,” Barnes said. “I didn’t see myself going anywhere else,” Barnes said. “From the outside looking in, they needed a pass rusher and I was thinking I could come here and compete and be a pass rusher.”

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

The Jets absolutely need some exterior pass rush help and adding Barnes will certainly help the Jets concerns at the spot in 2013.  At the same time, the Jets might not be done with adding some pressure to the edge of the pocket.

As we’ve detailed some on the blog already, Barnes is a great pressure player and is best when he plays with his hand in the dirst as a “rush linebacker.” Barnes is better at getting after the ballcarrier or passer and so the expectation is that at a minimum he’ll see time in pressure packages or passing downs as a rusher.  He’s not necessarily bad against the run, but can get caught off guard on misdirection plays.  Based on the Jets current roster and what the Jets would want to do, Barnes could platoon with McIntyre in a complementary run/pass situation while Sapp would project to the opposite side.  Of course, should the Jets address OLB or OLBs in the draft as most expect they will, that could drastically change.  Bumping someone from more prominent roles into some sort of lesser contributor type role.

It’s good to see that Barnes really wants to play for Rex Ryan again and that the timing finally worked out, it should be fun to watch him attack the pocket in 2013.