NGSC Sports

Barr Continues To Impress


In a game that featured the potential future of the NFL at the quarterback position, there has been one player who has yet to receive the media attention that he has rightfully earned. That player is rising star and rookie Anthony Barr. Barr has made a very noticeable impact in his early career and this past weekend against the Washington Redskins in no difference. The impact he has made is all facets of the game is such an improvement from months ago when people were projecting him to be a pass rusher. The biggest difference in Barr’s game now from when he was in college is his ability to play in space when called to do so. The Vikings use him in a multiple of schemes and alignments. In this week’s Vikings Review, we will take a look at each facet in which the Vikings use this extremely talented rookie.

1. The Blitz Game

Mike Zimmer is known for being a defensive genius, always knowing how to properly devise schemes that help maximize the outcome for each player on the field. The scheme that has become the commodity for his Vikings defense this season is the double A gap pressures. This particular snap was during the Redskin’s first Redzone opportunity. The defense shows a “3” front within the defensive line meaning both interior defensive linemen are lined up in three techniques. The double A gap linebackers are Barr and Greenway.

The double three technique look with Wooten lined out in a “7” makes the offensive line have to show man/zone protection with to the Tight end. This makes Floyd and Griffen have one on one matchups on the backside of the offensive formation. The slide protection on the man side makes for the back to insert to pick up the blitz on Barr, leaving a center to slam down on Greenway. However, Zimmer had a trick up his sleeve.

At the snap, Greenway shows that he is going to drop into coverage, making the center hesitate. Barr fires off the ball, quickly creating penetration into the backfield and sheds the block from Helu Jr. to sack Griffen on a crucial third down. Barr has done a great job in creating havoc when his number is called to rush the passer.

2. Run Defense

Anthony Barr has always been strong at the point of attack in the run game this season, but this play however shows both his tenacity and his fundamentals. In the Redskin’s second Redzone opportunity late in the second quarter Barr shows off his stuff. The offense sets up in Ace personnel out of a pistol formation, showing the strength of the formation to the boundary due to Jordan Reed lining up to the offense’s right.

Now the blocking scheme for this play is fairly simple. On a stretch or outside zone, they basically reach block across the board up front with the backside guard using combining with the center for a scoop block. A scoop block is basically a double team but the guard will work to get his head across so the center and peel off to a linebacker. At the snap, Barr reads reach and take a gamble by exploding off the ball and beating the angle of both Reed and the tackle. If Barr is even clipped by the tackle it could prove costly as the edge would be lost and free for Morris to cut up field. However, with Barr beating both blocks, it causes Morris to stop his feet and try to cut upfield quicker than designed. Anthony Barr displays textbook tackling technique by squaring his shoulders and driving through Morris for a two yard loss. Barr has been great in the run game showing a presence of strength when on the line and the ability to close to the ball when off in coverage.

3. Coverage

The place that Anthony Barr has impressed fans the most is his ability to place in coverage. The technique, the football IQ and the overall understanding on how everything develops and works is truly fascinating for a guy who probably played a handful of snaps in college while at UCLA. Late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins down, Barr displayed everything that fans and the staff have been impressed about. The Vikings again match the offenses gun formation with yet another double A gap pressure and again Coach Zimmer has a wrinkle to it.

At the snap, both Barr and Greenway bail into their prospective drops. Barr’s speed allows him to drop straight back and widen out as the play develops. Seeing that the secondary has tight coverage on all his reads, Griffin III drops the ball down to his back who at first inserted as a blocker up the middle only to delay and peel off on a route to the flat. Barr, who has man coverage on the back, widens as the back does and the moment the ball is checked down to Helu Jr. fires like a missile to the back. The closing speed that Barr displays is impeccable considering that to start the play; Barr was playing at ten yards from the line of scrimmage after his drop. He closes quickly on Helu Jr. who again has to stop his feet and Barr finishes him off for a 4 yard pickup.

The evolution of Barr’s game has been fun to watch in just nine games of his pro career, showing that there is plenty to be high on in the future this this star.

The Vikings have Week 10 off which should allow for the recent decision in the Peterson case to have an extra week to have the NFL decided their fate on the matter. The Vikings will have two weeks to prepare for a struggling Bears team. The Vikings will travel to Chicago in week 11 to play the Bears.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Vikings Review as we take a look at the overall defensive performance against the Bears.

Author Profile

Joshua Zimmer
Josh is the Big Ten analyst for NGSC Sports. With his extensive knowledge of the game, he will be keeping an eye on some of the conference's top NFL Draft prospects while also serving as the Gophers analyst. He also covers the NHL.

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