Among the free agent acquisitions that the Jets made, one who seems to be flying under the radar right now is Antwan Barnes. Barnes played for Ryan back in Baltimore, but has been with the Chargers and while 2011 yielded great results, 2012 didn’t go as well. Part of it, ESPN NY’s Rich Cimini notes was the influx of other players onto the San Diego roster and another part was health for Barnes.
In 2011, Barnes posted terrific numbers. In 273 pass-rushing opportunities, he racked up 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus.com — one hurry per 9.4 rushes. In 2012, his playing time dropped considerably. The Chargers used a first-round pick on OLB Melvin Ingram and signed OLB Jarret Johnson, reducing Barnes’ role. Barnes also missed some action due to a hamstring injury. He finished with only 140 pass rushes, three sacks and 10 hurries, per PFF — one hurry per 14 rushes.
Barnes should get plenty of chances with the Jets. Even though he’s not starting in the base defense — Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples are the OLBs — he’s working with the No. 1 nickel package as a situational rusher.
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comBarnes will be playing for a coach who is familiar with his skills and looks to project into a pass rushing role where he can excel but also can make a stop on a draw or running play if required. As Cimini indicates, this could very well be a good opportunity for Antwan Barnes to have a resurgence in his production at getting after the quarterback. While sacks are always the glory statistic, Barnes is also adept at hurrying the passer. The problem of course is that the San Diego defensive line got significantly better once they upgraded with Jarret Johnson and Ingram over Barnes and the other players from 2011.
Though, there is a lot of room for hope. With Wilkerson and Coples and then Richardson likely rotating onto the field in passing situations, look for opposing quarterbacks to be on the run a lot in 2013.