If Barnes can get it right between the ears, it sounds like we may have a stub LB!
"Quotable: “I’m even more excited about that player right now with having my hands on him for about two months now this offseason. He’s done everything and more I’ve asked. He’s completely bought in,” Sheppard said of Barnes.
"That guy man, the sky’s the limit for him. But he knows as well he hasn’t had a lot of off-ball experience so that’s just for me getting the molded clay and now I can make it into whatever I want.
"At the same time, he has to go do it. I told him ‘I can’t talk to you through the headset all play to tell you what to do,’ but when Derrick knows what to do, you’ll see it this fall. That player, there’s not many in the league with his stature, with his power, with the way he can run and hit (and he) can do what he can do once he knows exactly what to do."
As it should be honestly, in fact that’s true of 1st rounders as well. Until they prove it their careers are just entropy. So I don’t have expectations, but it’s alright to hope for the best, even though it’s led almost completely to disappointment. One of these days that will change.
Much like Jarrad Davis, if you’re not involving Barnes in rushing the passer from time to time you are not maximizing his value. I do think he’s going to end up being a much better player than Davis but he’s probably still someone that’s always better going forward than going back. I suppose that’s true of most LBers. That’s why I think Board and/or Malcom will be important this year. Or maybe Dion-Hamilton if he can atay healthy for once.
See, I don’t think that Derrick Barnes is some guy “that just doesn’t get it.” I believe he is better than before and will continue to get better yet. last season, everybody wanted Barnes to come back and to play…that was a mixed bag…but hey, that was LAST YEAR. I don’t buy that he’s a dipshit that doesn’t understand , I think he’ll open up some eyes…might not be The Goat, but not bad.
Especially if you’re a smaller linebacker. That’s what made guys like Sam mills and Zach Thomas so great. They weren’t big or crazy athletic. They were just highly intelligent and combined great technique with lots of film study and instincts.
His junior season, he played D-end at Purdue. If he had great instincts at linebacker why did they move him to D-end after playing linebacker his first 2 years of college? That question has crossed my mind. And he had 7.5 sacks as an undersized D-end, he clearly has some play making ability. And then they moved him back to linebacker in a shortened 2020 season. Hindsight is 20/20, but it may have been better for his development to have stayed at backer the whole time.
And Barnes was a highly recruited running back in High school, I think he might just need more experience at linebacker. We should hopefully see improvement this year.
I agree that instincts are probably the most important attribute for a LB. Not sure why, but maybe Barnes could develop similarly to how DJ Williams career panned out. Of course they aren’t the same level of prospect, but DJ was considered more athlete than LB when he came out. He started out as a WILL, and had a great rookie year chasing down plays for the Broncos. In his 4th year he transitioned to MLB and had his best year. Sometimes instincts can develop with reps. Maybe Barnes will get there.
One thing I like about Barnes is he plays great going downhill. He hits like a ton of bricks and his closing speed is great. He’s going to need a lot of reps in coverage to get comfortable. I’m more hopeful that he can be better in coverage than Jarad Davis, although that is about as low as the bar can get.
I never understood why Davis was MLB in previous schemes, to me he looked natural on the edge rushing the passer. I’m curious to see if they line Davis/Barnes next to Hutchinson for that double whammy knee gap biter.