While it may not have shown up on the stat sheet, Connor Barwin has been a big boost to the Philadelphia Eagles‘ defense early on in the season. Barwin was excellent in coverage at the linebacker position, chased Robert Griffin III much of the night, and limited any sort of production from tight end Fred Davis, who is a talented player.
Barwin may not have had a big sack total Monday night, however, he played well within the defense, took on his responsibilities head on, and did his job. Cole and Barwin were both very effective rushing and in coverage, as were all the linebackers, which include Demeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Graham.
Much hoopla was made of how Brandon Graham and Trent Cole would transition from being defensive ends to linebackers in a 3-4. On this night, however, not a peep was made of it. Graham and Cole both admit that Barwin has been an immense help in them making the transition to the 3-4. His experience in the defense and his awareness and skills in coverage seem to have rubbed off on the other players.
Barwin will get his numbers this season. With teams potentially double-teaming Cole and up and coming star Fletcher Cox, Barwin is bound to see one-on-one blocking and even tight ends trying to block him, which he should feast on.
Right now, this defense is further along than any Eagles fan could have hoped. They face a bigger passing test on Sunday, where the secondary will have to be on their toes all game long. The Eagles’ defense passed their test with flying colors in Week 1. If they can play 60 minutes on a week-to-week basis, where they end up is anyone’s guess.