New England Patriots: Josh Barrett

Danger signs at safety for Patriots?

September, 27, 2011

AP Photo/Steven SenneJosh Barrett knows the Patriots safeties have to play better moving forward.

The Patriots showed a lot of confidence in safeties Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown entering the 2011 season, but they need more from the duo to aid a struggling defense:

When the New England Patriots made the decision earlier this year to move forward without veteran safeties Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders, their actions suggested confidence in the young tandem of Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown.

Yet Barrett, a third-year player, and second-year man Brown had combined for a mere 379 total defensive snaps during their NFL careers (Barrett 285, Brown 94), according to data logged by analytical site Pro Football Focus. By comparison, Meriweather (952) and Sanders (819) played 1,771 total snaps for the Patriots last season alone.

While there have been some bright spots for both Brown and Barrett over the first three weeks of the season, a particularly rough weekend in Buffalo left some pundits openly grumbling about whether the Patriots made the right personnel decisions in their secondary.

Barrett and Brown have combined to play 76.4 percent of New England's defensive snaps this season, logging five starts between them. They've been part of a secondary that's been gashed for a league-worst 377 passing yards per game, and a lack of impact plays (Brown did have a nice interception against San Diego) has the pair in the spotlight after the Patriots' first loss of the season.

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Getting to know Josh Barrett

September, 6, 2011
Mike Rodak/ESPN BostonJosh Barrett talks with the media Monday.
The safety position has seen significant change for the Patriots this season, with Brandon Meriweather (Bears) and James Sanders (Falcons) out, and Josh Barrett and James Ihedigbo in.

Third-year man Patrick Chung (5-11, 212) is a lock to be one starter and second-year player Sergio Brown (6-2, 210) projects to have the upper hand to play alongside Chung. But Barrett (6-2, 230) is also in the mix; he started the preseason finale next to Chung.

One question often asked: Who will the free safety, who will be the strong safety? The Patriots view their safeties as interchangeable. For example, on the first play of the preseason finale against the Giants, Chung was playing closer to the line of scrimmage, while Barrett was deep.

Because he is a relative newcomer, Barrett isn't as well know to Patriots followers so here are some quick hits on his background:

Age: 26
College: Arizona State
Draft: Denver Broncos, 7th round (220th overall) in 2008
How Obtained: The Broncos waived Barrett on Aug. 5, 2010 with the intention of moving him to injured reserve when he cleared waivers. Instead, the Patriots claimed him despite a shoulder injury and waited until they could move him to injured reserve later that month without exposing him to waivers.
NFL experience: In 2008, Barrett spent 11 weeks on the Broncos' practice squad before being signed to the active roster on Nov. 22. He played the final six games that season, starting three, and finished with 23 tackles and an interception. In 2009, Barrett appeared in 14 games for the Broncos, the majority of his time spent on special teams.
Preseason play: Barrett recorded all four of his preseason tackles against the New York Giants in the exhibition finale on Thursday.

Patriots claim safety Barrett off waivers

August, 6, 2010
The Patriots claimed third-year safety Josh Barrett off waivers from the Denver Broncos on Friday, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported.

The Broncos had waived Barrett with the intention of placing him on season-ending injured reserved, as Barrett was scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery.

Barrett entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice of the Broncos and his primary contributions have come on special teams. As a rookie in Denver, he was coached by current Patriots special teams coach Scott O'Brien.