If they handed out assists for sacks, Christian Barmore would have picked up an early dime last Sunday in Foxboro.
The Tennessee Titans needed four blockers to contain the New England Patriots defensive tackle on a first-quarter pass play. The attention on Barmore freed up Matt Judon to bring down quarterback Ryan Tannehill, boosting his team-high sack total to 11.5.
When asked about that play Thursday, Judon empathized with the Titans' predicament.
"I don’t know why they need that many people blocking him, but Barmore helps me out," Judon said, as seen in the video above. "Sometimes they’ve gotta block him and sometimes they’ve gotta block me, but they’ve gotta pick their poison. They’ve gotta do it fast and they’ve gotta do it on the fly because we both play very fast."
So, what should opposing offenses do? Continue throwing blockers at the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Barmore, or turn more attention to Judon, who ranks third in the NFL in sacks?
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Judon was happy to offer his advice.
"They can put four on him all the time. I suggest blocking Barmore with more people," Judon said with a smile.
"I think you should take the tackle and the guard and block Barmore all the time and leave the (running) 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."
Judon obviously would love a cleaner path to the quarterback, and Barmore has helped give that to him by eating up double- (or quadruple-) teams in the trenches. The Patriots rookie ranks entered last Sunday's game with the third-most quarterback pressures of any rookie defender and has played a huge role in New England's defensive success by becoming a handful for opposing offensive lines.
Barmore's impact can be hard to quantify, but Judon summed it up well Thursday by explaining how the Alabama product makes his job that much easier.