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Eagles' Connor Barwin talks 3-4 transition, drop in sacks

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

As of right now, Connor Barwin is the only pass rusher of any sort on the Eagles roster with any 3-4 experience. DeMeco Ryans did play for a couple years in the system, but he's the only other LB with experience in it.

So for now, Barwin comes in as the authority in this current defense on the 3-4 and he told WIP this week that he'll be taking the responsibility of helping the current 4-3 guys transition.

"Well right now I will be one of the only linebackers who's played in a 3-4 and a 4-3," he said. "I think it'll be a hybrid of the two, but I'll have the background to move guys along and show them the different things and the potential of what you can do at that outside linebacker position on defense."

One of the major questions with Barwin is the big dropoff in sacks from 2011 when he had 11.5 to 2012 where he registered just 3. He said the difference was due to some bad luck, but also scheme changes in Houston.

"The year before when I had 11.5 sacks I pretty much rushed the passer all the time every single snap," he said. "Last year I did a lot. If you look at my pressures and hurries, they were right up there with the year before. I had two sack-fumbles taken away. Thank God the tuck rule is being taken away. I had a few sacks I just barely missed. If you look at the Houston Texans, we had a lot of injuries at inside linebacker towards the end of the year and instead of rushing every single play our inside linebackers dropped back in coverage more, but we used to have to chip tight ends or wide receivers at the line before we started our rush, which slows you down and puts you at an extreme disadvantage as a pass-rusher."

Barwin is often described as a "high motor" guy, which is a stereotype of players like him that both annoys and flatters him.

"As a football player, for me it's about being able to play every single down. It's being able to go out there and do a lot of different things. Not only being able to rush the passer, but be able to set the edge and stop the run and be able to drop in coverage and then it's full tilt all the time. I hate when people say white guys have motors, but that is something I do take pride in. It's something I do take pride in and that's what I stand for on defense."

You can hear Barwin's full interview on WIP.com