Jul 31, 2013; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets linebacker Antwan Barnes (95) reacts while walking off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets: A closer look at Antwan Barnes

Whether it be constant updates on the quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith; or some running back on the roster getting arrested (read: Mike Goodson, Joe McKnight), or the curious case of the missing wide receiver, let’s just step away, for a second, from all the frenzy that is the New York Jets.

Yes, our thirst for football is insatiable, so we can’t have enough of football news—especially Jets updates—but while it is entertaining to read up on all the things that makes the Jets the Jets, there are some positives on the team.

Let’s take a look at one:

Antwan Barnes. Why? Because you’ll be hearing his name a lot (in a good way) this season.

The 28-year-old outside linebacker was signed this offseason by the Jets. He was brought in because the Jets need his pass-rushing abilities in a bad way. Rex, who prides himself on his defense, coached a unit that produced only 30 sacks last season, which was good enough for 25th in the league. That’s unacceptable.

There was talk the Jets would draft a pass rusher in the 2012 draft, but they did not, so that will give Barnes more opportunities to try and duplicate his 2011 season—Barnes was a monster that season, recording 11.5 sacks, and realizing his potential, but injuries and personnel changes slowed him down the season after.

In the Jets’ preseason opener against the Lions, Barnes was decent, but there was one play in the second quarter where he played the sort of way that the Jets and Rex envisioned from him when they brought him in; Barnes bull-rushed the offensive line, collapsing the pocket, creating a sack for teammate Quinton Coples. That play there showed what Barnes brings to the table. He is a disruptive force that can beat one-on-one blocks.

Barnes can immediately make plays for the Jets due to his familiarity with Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes. He is a capable run-stuffer and is an explosive player off the edge that can disrupt the offense—and we all know the Jets need that type of help on defense.

Tags: Afc East Antwan Barnes Football New York Jets NFL

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