Connor Barwin is the essential key to this Eagles defense. The do-it-all outside-linebacker does whatever he is asked without hesitation. Whether it’s dropping into coverage, stepping up to play the run, or attacking the quarterback (which is every lineman’s favorite). Barwin was the best signing the eagles inked in the 2013 offseason when they signed him to a 6 year $36-million contract with the chance to earn up to $40-million.
Barwin was the only experienced 3-4 OLB on the Eagles defensive roster in 2013. Trent Cole, a prototypical 4-3 Defensive end was forced to change his position forcing Barwin to take on a bigger role in pass coverage.
Barwin can be a top notch pass rusher, he barely rushed the quarterback last year and still recorded 5 sacks.
In 2011, Barwin notched 11.5 sacks for the Houston Texans.
After a year of installing a Billy Davis scheme, more players are ready to step up in other situations and roles. With the eagles desperately needing a pass rusher to step up Barwin will answer the call.
Barwin dropped into coverage 42% of the time which is at the top of the list for his position.
If that number can drop by 10%, Barwin will record anywhere from 8.5-14 sacks.
Yes, I believe he is that good.
There’s a problem though. Barwin is the only OLB who can really cover in the defense. The more he blitzes, the more the Eagles pass defense becomes vulnerable.
We would all like to think that rookie first round pick Marcus Smith can help, yet he’s been absent from the spotlight. Even the Eagles are looking at Smith as a potential project whether they admit it or not.
That’s not the greatest thing to hear if you’re Barwin.
We already know how stable Barwin is in every area of his position, but we have yet to see his best pass rush.
If Smith can develop, learn the defense, and understand what the team is asking of him then Barwin can turn to predator.
If Barwin turns to predator the Eagles defense will succeed.