But make no mistake: The Patriots sophomore has a mean streak, as well as straightforward confidence that’s both warranted and sneaky-hilarious.
Our first whiff of it came midway through Barmore’s impressive rookie season, when he called himself “humble” while adding that offensive players will feel his “pain.” He doubled down a few weeks later before New England took on the Indianapolis Colts, who had a large offensive line.
“I ain’t going to lie, I don’t care how tall you are, how big you are,” Barmore said. “It does not matter to me. I know the guys say the same thing. You could be 7 feet; I don’t care. If you’re in front of me, you’re going to feel my pain.”
Barmore earned the respect of Bill Belichick and became a force in 2021, racking up the second most quarterback pressures by a rookie defensive tackle since 2006. The Alabama product’s confidence only has grown since then — and for good reason.
He’s been arguably the Patriots’ top performer through seven training camp practices, regularly overwhelming New England’s linemen, including rookie Cole Strange. Barmore’s been a menace during 1-on-1 drills and even better during competitive periods.
After Wednesday’s practice, a reporter began a question by telling Barmore he’d been dominating 1-on-1s. Barmore interjected with one word:
Soon afterward, Barmore was asked to identify the last time he felt physically overmatched by someone whom he was lined up against. He laughed, looked to the side, and said, “I don’t know about that one.” The reporter again asked whether Barmore ever has felt overmatched.
“Nah, not really. Nah,” he said. “I ain’t never had that.”
They asked Christian Barmore when he felt physically overmatched and he got so confused🤨😂 pic.twitter.com/GpWg7F4g7R— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) August 3, 2022
Barmore then said that Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown occasionally gives him “some trouble.” Brown is New England’s tallest player at 6-foot-8.
If there’s one knock on Barmore, it’s that his limitations (relatively speaking) in run defense prevented him from becoming an every-down player last season. He wasn’t poor against the run, but he was far superior as a pass-rusher.
On Wednesday, Barmore said he spent the offseason working on his conditioning in Texas and focusing on improving as a run defender so that he can take on a larger role in New England. So far, it looks like his hard work is paying off.
Should Barmore take a leap in his development this season, we could be talking about one of the best defensive linemen in football.
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