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Connor Barwin holding out for Super Bowl contender

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  • Connor Barwin holding out for Super Bowl contender

    Connor Barwin holding out for Super Bowl contender
    • By Chris Wesseling
    • Around the NFL Writer
    • Published: July 11, 2018 at 02:45 p.m.
    After starting 109 of a possible 112 games with the Texans, Eagles and Rams over the past seven years, veteran pass rusher Connor Barwin has been left to languish on the free-agent market this offseason. The 31-year-old is in no rush to find a new team, however, biding his time until the perfect opportunity arises.
    In a Tuesday interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Barwin revealed that he's had multiple offers on the table and will likely sign in time to join a training camp "in a couple weeks." While he's seeking a defensive scheme that matches his skill set, the top priority is chasing a Super Bowl ring before he hangs up his cleats.
    "I think it's how much you believe they can compete," Barwin told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Movin' the Chains. "I'm not going to go play anywhere that I don't think they've got a chance to win a Super Bowl. That's always the way I've felt, but obviously the older you get, the more and more urgency you have.
    "And then money. Money is always part of it, too. Your whole career, you've got to take that as part of the equation."
    Relatively injury-free for the bulk of his career, Barwin envisions playing a "couple of more years."
    While he neglected to disclose which teams have shown the most interest, Barwin sounds amenable to rejoining a Rams outfit that has the unproven tandem of Samson Ebukam and Matt Longacre penciled in as the outside linebackers in Wade Phillips' defense.
    "That was fun to be a part of last year," Barwin explained. "I think Sean [McVay] is going to be a great coach in this league for a long time. He partnered up with Wade, who has been a great coach in this league for a very long time, and they're going to do great this year.
    "Sean is just a great leader, and he's gotten everybody to buy in and he's going to do great again this year. I'm excited to see what they do."
    Will McVay and Phillips come calling for a familiar veteran to bolster the edge-rushing rotation? Stay tuned for the opening of camps later this month.

  • #2
    He has signed a two-year deal with the New York Giants, who went 3-13 last year and are being given 50-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl according to Vegas.


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    • Nick
      Rams rookies quickly warm to ‘old dude’ coordinator Wade Phillips
      Rams rookies quickly warm to ‘old dude’ coordinator Wade Phillips
      By Rich Hammond,,, @Rich_Hammond on Twitter
      POSTED: 05/12/17, 7:25 PM PDT | UPDATED: 6 HRS AGO 0 COMMENTS

      THOUSAND OAKS >> Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is old enough to be the grandfather of the rookies he met this week, quickly bridged the generation gap.

      “I thought he was going to be kind of a hard (personality),” linebacker Samson Ebukam said Friday. “Because he’s an old dude; you know what I’m saying? He’s an old dude, and I thought he was going to be one of those hard-ass dudes, who was like, ‘Do this, do this, do this.’ But he’s chill. He’s just right there trying to get you better, and that’s what I like about him. He’s just trying to get us better.”

      Don’t blame the rookies for being intimidated by the spectre of Phillips. He’s 69 years old with a recently minted Super Bowl ring, and he’s been coaching in the NFL since the mid-1970s, which must seem like the dark ages to a 22-year-old player such as Ebukam, and his peers.

      Old and young seem to have melded together. The Rams on Friday opened their two-day rookie mini-camp for players recently drafted and signed, and while much of the recent focus has been on the Rams’ well-regarded offensive prospects, Phillips brings the potential for immediate defensive improvement.

      Phillips now has his first chance to work with Ebukam, a fourth-round draft pick of the Rams last month, safety John Johnson (a third-round pick) and many other undrafted free agents.

      “I’m pleased with all of them,” Phillips said. “Their effort is really good. They’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off, but that’s a good thing. That’s what we want, that kind of mood.”

      Rams rookies certainly knew Phillips by reputation, and thus far, he seems to be a good complement to first-year coach Sean McVay and his nonstop energy. Phillips is far from lethargic, but he speaks slowly, with a Texas drawl and plenty of dry wit. Then there’s the resume.

      Phillips won the Super Bowl two years ago as Denver’s defensive coordinator, and he’s known as something of a turnaround artist. That’s good news for the Rams’ defense, which is talented but underachieved last season.

      Phillips, who worked with Rams veterans at a mini-camp last month, said he has been impressed with their work ethic. Phillips estimated that he already has installed 70 percent of his defense.

      “Like any coach, it’s, ‘What have you done for me lately?’” Phillips said. “We’re going to try to do something right now. We’ve been successful doing that over the years.”

      Phillips already seems to be growing on the youngest Rams. Johnson said Phillips reminded him of his former college defensive coordinator, and players seemed pleasantly surprised by Phillips’ relatability.

      “So I’m kind of comfortable...
      -05-13-2017, 07:24 AM
    • Nick
      After Strong Offseason, Ebukam in Line to Start at OLB
      After Strong Offseason, Ebukam in Line to Start at OLB
      By Kristen Lago
      Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018 12:10 PM

      Heading into the Rams offseason program, the club’s defensive lineup appeared to be pretty settled.

      From the new additions of cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, to the acquisition of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, those outside of the building had a good idea of which players would be starting in the secondary and on the front line. The Rams linebackers, however, was a different story, given the departures of former starters Alec Ogletree, Robert Quinn, and Connor Barwin.

      But as the team looks toward training camp, it seems that at least one question mark from the group has been answered at outside linebacker.

      “I think Samson Ebukam has had a tremendous spring,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said recently. “I just think he’s learned more and more about what he can do and how to do what he does… [He] certainly will have one of the starting positions.”

      Ebukam made a name for himself last season early on as a dominant force on special teams. He also developed quickly as an important depth piece on the outside — recording 31 tackles, 2.0 sacks, and one forced fumble in 2017, having appeared in all 16 games.

      While the coaching staff has been open with Ebukam about their plans for him this fall, the Eastern Washington product has maintained a humble attitude throughout the offseason.

      “They’ve told me that and all that good stuff, but I don’t really pay attention to it,” Ebukam admitted. “I’m just here to earn my spot. It’s another year and I just have to earn it just like everybody else."

      For that reason, he has been focused on delving deeper into the intricacies of the defense and working on his ability to rush the passer more effectively.

      “Definitely the playbook,” Ebukam said of his growth, “being able to play faster on the field and not thinking as much as I did last year. I just feel more loose and more confident now that I know the playbook more because I didn’t have this last year.”

      “I wasn’t here in OTAs [in 2017], so this is all kind of like a learning experience for me and I’ve loved it every step of the way,” he continued.

      Phillips and head coach Sean McVay have been impressed with the young linebacker’s overall development.

      Both mentioned the strides they’ve seen in Ebukam this offseason have given them confidence in his ability to be a starter in 2018.

      “He’s got tremendous speed and he’s learning to utilize that,” Phillips said. “You’ve got to hone in on what you do well [and] he’s kinda found his niche there.”

      “Samson has been a great player for us where you see the bursts, just the way that he’s consistently able to get in and out of different things whether it’s bursting [or] pursuing the football,” McVay...
      -06-20-2018, 06:18 AM
    • MauiRam
      Wade Phillips brings quick-fix wizardry to Los Angeles Rams' D
      • By Gregg Rosenthal
      Bum Phillips loved to watch his son work. Near the end of a life spanning football's explosive growth, the legendary leader of the "Love ya Blue" Houston Oilers would regularly show up to Texans practice, wife by his side, to see Wade Phillips coordinate Houston's defense.

      "Wade was 65 years old at the time," Los Angeles Rams linebacker Connor Barwin said in an interview this summer, recalling the image of his days playing for Phillips in Houston. "It was so cool to watch his parents come watch him coach. You just saw that love between them, that respect, that love for the game all in one."

      Now 70 years old and ready to embark on his 40th NFL season after joining the 10th pro organization of his career, the Rams' newest defensive coordinator wears that love of sport as conspicuously as his late father once wore a 10-gallon hat. Phillips emerged as the preeminent quick-fix defensive coach of the last quarter-century by honoring his father's principles even when they cut against the NFL norms of the day. When a team needs a defensive boost, they call Phillips, and he delivers every time.

      Phillips and Barwin are more than just coach and player -- the two men regularly grabbed meals together even when Barwin was playing with the Eagles and Phillips was coaching elsewhere. In this era of free agency, cold professionalism and emotion-free press conferences, Phillips believes that coaches and players can be friends. He believes that yelling at players for mistakes amounts to "bitching" and not coaching. He believes that too many staffs overcoach players in an effort to make them all the same. The Son of Bum identifies with players who don't follow all his orders, knowing well that a little independent thinking goes a long way.

      "You don't want players that do exactly what you say because they have no initiative themselves," Phillips told me. "You get some guys who are great young men that want to do everything you say, but they get carried away with that. When you need to make a play, you need to have the initiative to say, 'Hey, Coach told me to do this, but the ball's right there. I got to make the play.' "

      Like so much of Phillips' football philosophy, this sounds deceptively straightforward. Rams players extol Phillips' ability to simplify concepts and teach with clarity so they can learn fast and play even faster. Introduction to Wade Phillips 101 is a defensive self-help course with proven results that rival those of any defensive coach of his lifetime. In Los Angeles, he takes over a defense that had a better reputation than results over the last four seasons, failing to ever finish in the top 10 in points allowed and bottoming out last season, ranking 23rd in that category. Phillips' track record is one reason why Rams fans should expect this defense -- and the 2017 team as a whole -- to...
      -08-25-2017, 08:28 PM
    • Nick
      CBS: Here's why the Rams aren't worried about trading for Marcus Peters
      Here's why the Rams aren't worried about trading for Marcus Peters
      Second-year coach Sean McVay says his players know exactly what the expectations are
      By Ryan Wilson
      18h ago • 2 min read

      Last week, the Chiefs agreed to trade cornerback Marcus Peters to the Rams. The deal can't be finalized until March 14 -- the first day of the new NFL year -- though questions were immediately raised about why Kansas City would part ways with one of its best players.

      The team suspended him for a game in December after a bizarre episode that included Peters chucking an official's penalty flag into the stands and then leaving the field after wrongly thinking he was ejected. When he returned to the sidelines, he wasn't in full uniform. There were also reports that he got into shouting matches with assistant coaches and angered team chairman Clark Hunt by refusing to stand for the national anthem. But Andy Reid is also known as a players' coach -- the Kansas City Star's Sam Mellinger notes that Reid has suspended exactly two players during his 19-year coaching career: Peters and Terrell Owens -- and Peters was one of the NFL's brightest young defensive talents playing in a secondary that was among the league's worst.

      But for the Rams, Peters' skills superseded his baggage and they seem unconcerned that he could be a problem in Los Angeles -- especially since he's in the final year of a rookie deal that will pay him $1.7 million in 2018. And while second-year coach Sean McVay wouldn't speak in particulars about Peters so as not to violate the league's rules on tampering, he was happy to speak more generally about the culture he and his staff created in Los Angeles last year when the Rams improved to 11-5 after 4-12 in 2016.

      "These are grown men, and it starts with the mutual respect that exists, where they know it's about developing and building relationships," McVay said, via the Star. "If we're going to ask our players to be coachable, we've got to be coachable as coaches as well. That displays an ownership and an accountability that we try to all have and makes the players more receptive to the messages we try to implement."

      McVay continued: "[The players] know exactly what the expectations are, what our standards are, and they know what it is to do it the right way."

      Peters, who grew up in Oakland, never seemed comfortable in the Midwest and perhaps a return to California will make the "maybe a change of scenery will be good for him" cliche a reality. The truth, of course, is that Peters' ability on the field makes it worth putting up with everything else.

      "Anytime you have guys that can cover and do different things as far as matching up with receivers like Antonio Brown," McVay said, "that gives you a chance to be versatile and maybe mix some things up in terms of the pressures...
      -02-26-2018, 05:45 AM
    • MauiRam
      Rams coach Sean McVay not afraid to exchange tips with former mentor ..

      Rams coach Sean McVay hinted in September that he and former boss Jay Gruden might compare notes about common opponents this season, and that relationship could benefit both parties this weekend. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

      By rich Hammond; Orange County Register
      PUBLISHED: November 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm | UPDATED: November 2, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      THOUSAND OAKS — They close practices to the public. They avoid talking about injuries. They cover their mouths on the sidelines. NFL coaches, in general, display a rather high level of paranoia.

      Sometimes, though, the shield is lifted. Rams coach Sean McVay remains close with his former boss, Washington coach Jay Gruden, and as the Rams prepare for another game against an NFC East team – the New York Giants on the road Sunday – McVay might be leaning on his former mentor a bit.

      McVay hinted in September that he and Gruden might compare notes about common opponents, and after Thursday’s practice at Cal Lutheran, McVay indicated it happened. The Rams play the Giants, Washington’s division rival, while Washington plays Seattle, a division foe of the Rams.

      “Obviously I have a lot of respect for Jay,” McVay said. “He’s a close friend of mine. Now that we start to have some common opponents, (it helps) just being able to share with someone else that maybe has a different perspective, as opposed to maybe just inside the building.

      “He’s such a great resource, to be able to have a close friend like that, most importantly, but also somebody you can confide in that might be outside the building.”

      In a coincidence of NFL scheduling, the Rams hired McVay in the same year that they were slated to face all four NFC East teams: Philadelphia and Washington at home, and Dallas and the Giants on the road.

      The Rams lost to Washington in the second week, but that left plenty of time, if desired, to share information. Of the Rams’ final 14 games, 11 are against teams that also play Washington this season.

      McVay didn’t exactly mask this. On the Monday before the Washington game, McVay was asked about his upcoming communication with Gruden and said he was “looking forward to getting past this game.”

      “Then,” McVay added, “we can kind of try to be able to help each other as we move forward into the regular season, getting deeper into it, especially playing the NFC East and some of the familiar opponents and some of the things that will cross over with them.”

      So, has it worked? Perhaps. Washington beat San Francisco on Oct. 15, one month after the Rams beat the *****, and the Rams beat Dallas on the road on Oct. 1.

      “It’s not like we’re sharing every secret or anything like that,” McVay said. “It’s just that you feel like you can talk football and not give anything away from a competitive-advantage standpoint. We still talked, even leading up to our game. It’s just that...
      -11-03-2017, 12:43 PM