For the last few years, the focal point of the New York Jets defense has been the secondary. In 2013, the focus shifts on the young defensive line and the front seven, as Rex Ryan reemphasizes his attacking, blitzing style.
Free agent addition Antwan Barnes knows all about that, having played under Ryan with the Baltimore Ravens in 2007 and 2008. Reunited in New York, Barnes fits right in with Ryan’s aggressive philosophies.
Just two seasons ago, Barnes had 11 sacks off the edge for the San Diego Chargers, but he fell out of the rotation in 2012 after the Chargers brought in Melvin Ingram and Jarret Johnson, and he needed a fresh start.
The decision to reunite with Rex Ryan was an easy one, and the Jets showed their faith in Barnes when they signed him to a three-year, $4 million deal this offseason and did not spend any draft picks on edge rushers.
Barnes enters training camp as a possible starter along with Quinton Coples at outside linebacker, but he’ll be competing with, among others, Calvin Pace, who has manned the position for the Jets for the last five seasons.
The Jets want to take the pressure off their secondary by getting after the quarterback, and if Barnes is healthy and has a good showing in training camp, he could earn himself significant snaps in Ryan’s exotic schemes.
Like many in Jets camp this year, the 28-year-old Barnes has a chip on his shoulder, and that’s only going to strengthen the internal competition. Rex Ryan wants an attacking defense, and Barnes is up for the challenge.
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