When star pass rusher Matthew Judon went down in Week 4 with a biceps injury, the New England Patriots knew someone else would have to step up to help make up for the loss.
Through three games in Judon’s absence, that contributor has been Christian Barmore.
The third-year defensive lineman has been dominant in the middle the past few weeks for the Patriots. That included racking up four pressures against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday en route to a 18.2 percent pass rush win rate.
Christian Barmore had O'Cyrus Torrence in hell on Sunday. Also led the team with four pressures (sack, three hurries).— Brian Hines (@iambrianhines) October 24, 2023
You want to talk about players in need of an extension in the offseason... #Patriots pic.twitter.com/LJj8z9nCxG
“It’s tremendous. He gives a lot of pressure up the middle,” fellow defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. said of Barmore. “He’s beating guys left and right. Every game you see him beating somebody, causing pressures, forcing turnovers, forcing three-and-outs. It’s good to see.”
After missing a majority of last season with a knee injury, Barmore has lately started to look like his rookie year self — in which his 48 pressures were the second-most by a rookie defensive tackle since 2006, over the likes of Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt.
According to his head coach, staying healthy has been the biggest factor in him returning to his old form.
“B-More’s had a really good year,” Belichick said Wednesday. “He’s been healthy, had a good offseason. I’d say this is the hardest that he trained, or was able to train. Some of that’s been a little bit rehab-related, but had a good offseason, good training camp, and is playing well. Those things usually go together.”
Beyond making an impact as a pass rusher, Barmore’s work in the run game has been noticeably improved as well. Over the past two weeks, the defensive tackle has recorded seven total stops against the run as he continues to adapt to a more disciplined approach within his gaps in the Patriots scheme.
“I think he’s doing his job. He’s doing what we ask him to do, and he’s making some plays while doing the job within the framework of the defense,” defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington explained.
“He’s been doing a good job for us. In the run game, pass game, being consistent for us. He’s doing a good job of playing his role on the defense, and doing a good job of just making some plays for us. That goes to his work throughout the week, his preparation, his hard work throughout the week, which then leads to game day.”
Barmore should have plenty of opportunities to continue his hot streak this week and tee off against his former college teammate Tua Tagovailoa. The Miami Dolphins are quite banged up along the offensive line, which includes left guard Isaiah Wynn (injured reserve) being replaced by Lester Cotton, who gave up four QB pressures last weekend.