Dec 18, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Antwan Barnes (98) smiles after the Chargers beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-14 at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
The NFL Network is releasing their Top 100 players of 2012 and there just is not enough Chargers action on that list, so the staff at Bolt Beat got together to create a Top 10 Chargers list based off of their performances from last season.
8. Antwan Barnes
Antwan Barnes was supposed to be nothing more than a situational pass rusher for the Chargers last season. However due to the injuries/ ineffectiveness of Shaun Phillips and Larry English and because Travis Laboy was, well, Travis Laboy, Barnes had to take on a bigger role than expected. The 5-year player out of Miami responded with a breakout season, registering a career high 11 sacks with virtually no help. Despite this, Barnes seemingly did not get the same respect and acknowledgement as players such as Julius Peppers (11 sacks) and Von Miller (11.5 sacks) who had similar sack numbers.
Barnes’ signature game was in the Week 15 Sunday Night game against his former team, the Baltimore Ravens. In the 34-14 Charger win, Barnes sacked Joe Flacco four times, had two more tackles for loss and two QB hits.
In this “Top 10” exercise I ranked Barnes fifth because I felt he was by far the most reliable player on the Chargers front seven and had it not been for Eric Weddle’s Pro Bowl year, Barnes would have likely been the team’s MVP on defense.
What makes Barnes’ 11 sacks so much more impressive is that no Charger came remotely close to sniffing double digit in sacks. Quickly, can you tell me who was 2nd on the team in sacks last season?
I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t Travis Laboy
Give up? Cam freaking Thomas! Our backup NT! Four sacks!
So what I’m saying is Barnes played more snaps than he should have last season, had little to no support up front and still tied for 11th in the NFL in sacks. After looking at this more closely, I’m pissed none of my colleagues at BoltBeat.com had him higher. What’s the matter with you guys? Barnes was ripped off here just like he was all last season.