New England Patriots

  • Christian Barmore is a physical force.

    The second-year defensive tackle out of Alabama is making serious noise at 2022 training camp, and showing early signs of a second-year leap. In the case of Barmore, the leap could be seismic. He looks like he has the best chance of any second-year Patriot, rookie or veteran, to become a true impact player.

    With a player of Barmore’s physical ability, there is no ceiling. And it’s safer with him than anyone else on the field to rev up that hype train.

    Barmore made early waves as a rookie, playing the second-highest percentage of snaps at defensive tackle (55.4 percent) and logging 46 total tackles and 18 total QB pressures (nine hurries, seven knockdowns, 1.5 sacks). He’s locked in for third downs and obvious passing situations.

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  • Barmore still needs to round out his game. The Patriots still appear to view him as a pure pass-rusher, and he told reporters Wednesday that his No. 1 goal is to become a better run defender. But pass-rushing is where Barmore could become a true game-wrecker in the first place.

    One of the big keys for Barmore – any sophomore player, really – is to do less thinking out there, and more reacting. He acknowledged that he’s been able to play faster in his second year after spending much of his rookie season learning.

    “I’m way more comfortable now than I was last year, faster, and learning faster,” Barmore told reporters Wednesday. “I’m literally getting better every day, trying to get better today, get more better tomorrow.”

  • Barmore is still just 23 years old and has plenty to learn, especially based on his still-situational usage. But getting to the quarterback and slowing down the opponents’ passing game remains the No. 1 goal for any defense in today’s NFL. And to make a consistent impact at defensive tackle, you need to be physically overpowering. Barmore looks to be just that.

    Based on his reaction in his press conference, he’s been physically dominant for a long time. When asked if he remembers the last time he felt physically overmatched, Barmore quipped, “I don’t know about that one,” with a shake of the head and a flutter of the eyes.

    Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore speaks to reporters at training camp on Aug. 3, 2022 in Foxboro, Mass. (Matt Dolloff/98.5 The Sports Hub)

    Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore speaks to reporters at training camp on Aug. 3, 2022 in Foxboro, Mass. (Matt Dolloff/98.5 The Sports Hub)

    Barmore did credit the Patriots’ mountainous left tackle, Trent Brown, for giving him “sometimes a little trouble” in the power department. He credited Brown with helping prepare him for heavy double-teams, which he figures to see a lot of in the weeks (years?) ahead.

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  • “Christian’s done a good job. He’s way ahead of where he was last year,” head coach Bill Belichick said in his Thursday press conference. “First of all, he’s in much better condition. Second of all, he has a much better understanding of what we do, what our opponents do, and the daily routine or the weekly routine of how the progression’s going to go, because he’s been through it.

    “He’s been more consistent, like all second-year players – this isn’t really unique to him – but he’s been more consistent. He has a better understanding of our scheme, the opponent’s scheme, what can happen, what’s a problem, how to handle those problems when they come up. And his physical development, his techniques, his skills: overall strength, speed, stamina, have improved. They were good anyway, but they’ve gotten better through training. He’s making progress.”

    Barmore was especially disruptive during the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak in the middle of the 2021 season, when he racked up five QB hits, 0.5 sacks, one tackle for loss, and 18 total tackles. But the stats rarely tell the whole story, especially with a Belichick-coached defensive lineman. Barmore and others are expected to maintain gap responsibility and generate pressure by collapsing the pocket, rather than going all-out for sacks all the time.

  • If anyone on the Patriots is going to be pushing a lot of pockets back in 2022, it’s Barmore. He formed a formidable duo up front with outside linebacker Matthew Judon during the win streak a year ago. They and the rest of the Patriots defense fizzled down the stretch and into the playoffs, so more consistency and sustained excellence from those two would bode well for 2022.

    Even if Barmore continues to be mainly a third-down player in his second season, that’s where he’s always going to make his bones. If this time next year we’re talking about a big payday for the big boy, that’ll mean great things have happened.

  • We’ve got you covered every single day of Patriots training camp down in Foxboro. Click here for complete coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.