SportsNet - March 2013
Well, it’s official. Butler, Creighton and Xavier will join the new, Catholic 7-run Big East, just as expected. The moves, announced Wednesday, will be lauded, praised and explained as the “right ones” for all involved, and, really, there is nothing wrong with them.
Creighton breaks free from the Missouri Valley, where beating the likes of fellow mid-major toughies Wichita State and Northern Iowa was met with little more than a yawn outside of Omaha, Neb. Xavier ends an 18-year run with the Atlantic Ten in which it emerged as one of the staple programs for non-power-conference “near-excellence.”
Butler, meanwhile, bolts the same circuit after one campaign, essentially using it as a waiting room before entering into what it believes will be greener pastures.
The question is, will the new Big East offer greener pastures … for all involved?
The New York Jets are finally fixing their weak pass rush, after signing free-agent linebacker Antwan Barnes. Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News reported the details of Barnes' signing. Frankly it is a bargain deal for Gang Green, paying him only $900,000 initially and then $1.2 million each of the next two years.
For a modest sum, head coach Rex Ryan is getting the kind of pure pass-rusher his defense has lacked for too long. Since Ryan arrived in New York in 2009, the Jets have failed to exceed 40 sacks in a season and no one defender has posted double-digits in quarterback takedowns.
Whether he has operated a 3-4, 4-3 or a hybrid blend of both fronts, Ryan hasn't been able to produce a standout pass-rush threat. He hasn't had the right athletes at the edges of his defense.
Barnes has the potential to emerge as the outside rush ace Ryan needs to make his schemes more effective. He is a natural rush linebacker with the initial quickness and agility to routinely collapse the edges of a pass-pocket.