Offenses have hard a hard time against the New England Patriots defense recently. The unit surrendered only 26 combined points over its last four games, while registering 12 turnovers and scoring a pair of touchdowns.
One of the main reasons for the Patriots’ impressive performance on the defensive side of the ball is the team’s ability to bring pressure. Two players in particular stand out: linebacker Matthew Judon and rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore.
The duo has been a handful for opposing offenses, as Judon himself acknowledged earlier this week.
“He helps me out. Barmore helps me out. Sometimes they have to block him and sometimes they have to block me, but they have to pick their poison,” the 29-year-old said. “They have to do it fast and they have to do it on the fly because we both play very fast.”
The two defenders are the current top two on the Patriots defense in quarterback disruptions. Judon, who joined the team as an unrestricted free agent earlier this year, is ranked third in the league with 11.5 sacks. Barmore, meanwhile, has registered only one half-takedown, but he is repeatedly pushing the pocket and occupying linemen.
Last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans was a prime example for that. On Judon’s first-quarter sack against Ryan Tannehill, he had a one-on-one opportunity while Barmore was drawing three linemen.
For Judon, however, that is not enough.
“I suggest blocking Barmore with more people,” he joked. “I think you should take the tackle and the guard and block Barmore all the time and leave the back to me. I think it would be more productive for offenses. But if they don’t listen to me, they don’t listen to me.
“I do appreciate him, though. Just how he came in ready to work and his willingness to listen and adapt to a different play style. It shows when somebody is blocked with four people like that. It shows what they see on film and how he’s playing. Shoutout to Barmore, I appreciate you.”
Barmore arrived in New England as a second-round selection in this year’s draft. The Patriots moved up eight spot in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to get him aboard, a move that has paid major dividends not just for Judon but the defense as a whole.