Zimmer: People don’t realize how much other teams game plan for Anthony Barr

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Anthony Barr is an outside linebacker who has just 13.5 sacks in his five-year career. So why is he worth the big new contract the Vikings gave him?

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer says most people don’t understand how big an impact Barr makes because of the lengths that other teams go to to keep Barr from beating them.

“I know a lot of laymen don’t understand this, but Anthony is a guy that every team that we play game plans for,” Zimmer said. “There’s not one team – there might have been one team last year that didn’t, and we got 10 sacks. They all game plan for him.”

Zimmer appeared to be referring to the Dolphins as the team that didn’t game plan for Barr. In that game the Vikings got nine (not 10) sacks, and Barr was a huge problem for the Dolphins’ pass protection.

“A lot of that is him sacrificing himself for being able to have other guys free on rushes and blitzes and things like that. That’s why he’s such an unselfish guy,” Zimmer said. “We understand that no team that we play is ever going to say, ‘We’re not going to worry about Anthony Barr.’ That’s part of it, and sometimes we do it anyway. That’s just part of it. We’re always going to try and scheme the best way to win on that particular Sunday.”

Zimmer thinks opposing offenses are going to continue to struggle against Barr, even if his sack numbers don’t show it.

67 responses to “Zimmer: People don’t realize how much other teams game plan for Anthony Barr

  1. The thing I have always liked about Barr is ability to get out and deal with making plays on the outside such as screens and the wide running game. His athleticism and skill at reading it quickly usually has him in a good position for those plays.

    When the defense can get pressure early in a game, the the opposing offense often goes to slow the rush with the outside runs and screens. When the players like Barr help shut that down it really helps continue the pressure on opposing offenses. It is something the whole team does well, but I see Barr in particular as seeming very strong at.

    Yes, he got some bad burns from some very athletic offensive plays that were very visible, but the less glamorous but effective playing on most downs gets overlooked by many I think.

  2. Oh so the reason Aaron Donald is destruction on legs is because teams aren’t game planning for him? Crazy! Someone should let them know that they should start doing that.

  3. Every defensive star in the league is “gamed planned” for but they manage to put numbers anyway. That’s why they are called STARS. Barr is good be he is not a star but now he is being paid like one.

  4. It’s all about the defense. Another free agency has come and gone without addressing the elephant in the room, and that’s the offensive line.

  5. Good player on paper but apparently not other teams standing in line with $$ behind the Jets.

  6. One game doesn’t define a career people. You put Cooper Kupp or any speedy WR on any LB in this league and they will pull away. If they don’t, then they should maybe rethink their position. That was a coaching mistake on coverage. Barr has also not been used as a pass rusher since being drafted. When he has passed the QB, he has great results. What people don’t understand, is when they use Barr as a decoy at the line, it usually opens up a sack opportunity for one of the others. Barr is a team player, he doesn’t care about individual stats. With that said, I wish they wouldn’t have spent that much to bring him back, but that’s the market in this NFL.

  7. I half watched a game last year and half played with my son. So I heard a lot of it and saw a bit. I never heard Barrs name mentioned once. I was ready to jump on the “Barr sucks this year” bandwagon. But when I looked in the box score on Monday he was the second leading tackler. So much of our impressions are shaped by the announcers and by splash place like sacks. He’s right most of us laymen have no idea how valuable some of these people are and tend to judge them by what other people say or by the mistakes we see, overlooking all the good things.If the Vikings want him back, I’m glad we got him back.

  8. stiffarm13 says:
    March 16, 2019 at 6:21 am
    Yeah, sure they do… The best ever… Ask the Rams
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Yeah, just like the Rams are the best ever…..,. Ask the Patriots

  9. If I were Zimmer, I’d be more worried about teams successfully game planning against his QB, Kirk Cousins,which they have seem to have done fairly well.

  10. officialgame says:
    March 16, 2019 at 8:16 am
    Every defensive star in the league is “gamed planned” for but they manage to put numbers anyway. That’s why they are called STARS. Barr is good be he is not a star but now he is being paid like one.
    ————————————–

    Just four straight Pro Bowls…Maybe Zimmer is right and laymen don’t understand. Obviously players and coaches do.

  11. Most Underrated LB in the NFL.
    It’s a total team sacrifice not to have huge numbers, as the other guys grab the glory.
    As for the people talking about the Rams game, let’s see you try to cover a WR when you’re 6-4 and 230.
    That was a schematic gaff on Zimmer’s part as he said in his presser. So they learned from it and were a top 5 D the rest of the year.
    The Vikings have kept their own, Barr and Griffen!
    That’s our splash, two great players that are going to have excellent 2019 and 2020.

  12. I don’t think its as much about how the rams busted him in that 1 game, As much as it is about how often he seemingly absolutely disappears in games.Far too often he has 1 absolute Monster game then disappears for 2-3 games.Its my believe after watching the our defense that regardless we need another #3 LB in the mold of a Chad Greenway,Scott Studwell,Matt Blair just to name a few … That would then allow us to have 3 very good 3 down LB’s then there would be no need for a slot corner if we could simply have an athletic LB who could both play the pass and the run !! Just my thoughts..

  13. ^^^If you knew anything it’s that although it looked like Barr got beat bad in that Rams game, someone else blew that coverage, it’s wasn’t Barr’s responsibility.

  14. Odd, Barney fans have been telling me for years that Barr’s stats were so poor because the coaching staff always makes him play containment.
    Whatever the Hell that is.

    At least this explains why they never address their sad and leaky offensive line, because there’s simply no game planning for a competent Guard or Tackle.

  15. The Rams did. They told Kupp to run straight down the field and, that Barr can’t cover him. Some game plan!

  16. stiffarm13 says:

    Yeah, sure they do… The best ever… Ask the Rams
    ###

    After 3 previous tries – the Rams finally had a little success stopping Barr last year:

    Sep 7, 2014 – Vikings 38 – Rams 6

    Nov 8, 2015 – Vikings 21 – Rams 18

    Nov 19, 2017 – Vikings 24 – Rams 7

    Don’t you just hate it when the facts bite you right in the a$$.

  17. 6’5″ 250lb linebacker in a system that emphasises a disciplined, team first approach. Will a player in that position get the type of statistics that he would in a more high risk/high reward type system? I remember Jared Alan launching himself upfield looking for a sack on running plays because he was focused on personal stats. All teams (except the one I hate most) get outschemed occassionally and players get put in untenable positions. No linebackers will do well in coverage against the speed of a guy like Kupp, and very few can cover Gurley, probably none consistently. The respect that leads to 4 pro bowls in 5 seasons speaks for itself. When Zim says teams scheme for him it means they will not be running at the gaps he is responsible for and someone bigger and more skilled at blocking than a running back is always assigned to him. I’m happy to see that he opted to stay with the team that drafted him even though he could have made more money or moved to a system that would have allowed him to rush the passer more. In this age of free agency I love guys that stick with the team that drafted them. Dance with the one that brung ya baby.

  18. Zimmer will go to bat for his players but he is off on this. I know when Seattle was playing the Vikings Hunter was the biggest concerns, next was if Griffin was going to play or not. I would even put the DTs play above where Barr would rank.

    He is a good player but not a scheme wrecker.

  19. The Vikings defense has been historically good on 3rd down percentage the last few years. They wouldn’t be able to do that without the instincts and athleticism of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks. That’s why they are both getting paid now.

  20. All I know is the Vikings now have the same starters they did in 2017 when they were the #1 defense…plenty good enough for this layman….

  21. Yeah, other teams game plan for him. They plan for him to slack off on about half the plays in the game. Way overrated.

  22. LandOf10000MethLabs says:
    March 16, 2019 at 7:42 am
    Yes, other teams “game plan” for Anthony Barr cheap-shotting one of their players onto Injured Reserve.
    ————
    Does the crying about a legal hit ever stop. Rodgers is soft.

  23. Barr wasn’t special when he was leaving Mini, now he is. Go figure.
    Anyway, I hear opposing teams sometimes switch his locker around with Cousins’. It really creates havoc.

  24. stiffarm13 says:
    March 16, 2019 at 6:21 am
    Yeah, sure they do… The best ever… Ask the Rams.

    What LB can cover a WR? That was they wrong type of scheme not Barr being bad!

  25. dellastreet10 says:
    March 16, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Its my believe after watching the our defense that regardless we need another #3 LB in the mold of a Chad Greenway,Scott Studwell,Matt Blair just to name a few … That would then allow us to have 3 very good 3 down LB’s then there would be no need for a slot corner if we could simply have an athletic LB who could both play the pass and the run !! Just my thoughts..
    ______________

    So your recommendation in 2019 is to eschew the nickel defense and have a linebacker playing against slot wide receivers? With all due respect, I don’t think that’s a winning strategy. Chad Greenway, Scott Studwell, and Matt Blair could never keep up with a wide receiver on a regular basis.

  26. h0metownzero says:
    March 16, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Zimmer has said publicly and on multiple occasions that Barr has a “tendency to coast”.
    __________

    Actually, he said it once, on December 21, 2016. Barr had a great year in 2015 and wasn’t as good in 2016, although he still made the Pro Bowl as an alternate. The statement must have motivated Barr because his play was noticeably better the next two years.

  27. That could be said of any player on the field, teams game plan for all 11 defensive players and specifically for down and distance.

    I’m pretty sure that Andy Ried game planned for Barr and watching Barr chase his man all the way to the end zone on multiple occasions should give the other 30 head coaches a fair idea on how to do that successfully.

    For all the stats that the Viking’s defense builds up during the course of a season, it has been the defense that has collapsed when needed the most. You would think the Vikings would re-examine that but instead, they have doubled down and paid the most to the players that have underperformed in the game’s biggest moments. It’s the Viking way.

  28. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    March 16, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    dellastreet10 says:
    March 16, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Its my believe after watching the our defense that regardless we need another #3 LB in the mold of a Chad Greenway,Scott Studwell,Matt Blair just to name a few … That would then allow us to have 3 very good 3 down LB’s then there would be no need for a slot corner if we could simply have an athletic LB who could both play the pass and the run !! Just my thoughts..
    ______________

    So your recommendation in 2019 is to eschew the nickel defense and have a linebacker playing against slot wide receivers? With all due respect, I don’t think that’s a winning strategy. Chad Greenway, Scott Studwell, and Matt Blair could never keep up with a wide receiver on a regular basis.

    _______________________________________________

    This is just next level thinking. Zig while everyone else zags. Did you see the success Belichick had going power run in the playoffs? This would just be the defensive version. League goes pass heavy, you outsmart them by playing more run defense. Genius!

  29. How would Zimmer know that other teams are game planning for Barr? Creeping round other teams’ facility is illegal, but not surprising considering the organization he works for.

  30. 4 straight pro bowls. I know others have said it, but the professionals clearly see something we amateurs don’t. I love to talk football, and I even believe I know little bit about it. Certainly I sound reasonable when I discuss my opinion. But I never pictured him winning one pro bowl let alone four. He must be getting it done out there no matter what we amateurs think. I see this is one of those reminders, that I’m a fan, not a football professional

  31. “A lot of that is him sacrificing himself for being able to have other guys free on rushes and blitzes and things like that. That’s why he’s such an unselfish guy,” Zimmer said. “We understand that no team that we play is ever going to say, ‘We’re not going to worry about Anthony Barr.’ That’s part of it, and sometimes we do it anyway. That’s just part of it. We’re always going to try and scheme the best way to win on that particular Sunday.”

    If that’s an example of the incoherent manner Zimmer talks, no wonder his players and coaches seem dizzy.

  32. Yeah.. the Vikes do have a history of coming apart in the most important games. But… so did the Red Sox and Cubs. Up until a team wins their first championship.. or the first in many many years, that’s what they’re known for. Until they win it! We’ll see

  33. Mike Zimmer would go on to state, “People don’t often realize that my poor coaching record directly correlates with the various bad kickers and Offensive Coordinators I’ve employed over the years.
    And anyone else I deem responsible for our poor showing next season.”

  34. rogerthat2424 says:
    March 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm
    I’d go with Mike Zimmer’s opinion more than some couch coach.
    ____________

    Why?
    Seriously, what has Mike Zimmer ever really accomplished in 5 long years of scapegoating nonsense.
    Besides one extremely lucky postseason win, what is it that convinces every Barney on the planet that he’s a better coach than anyone else?
    I’ll wait.

  35. I didn’t say he was a better coach than anyone else, whatever “anyone else” means. I do believe he develops & motivates players, especially on the defense, and puts in more time studying other teams schemes more than a couch potato would know.

  36. Zimmer continues the proud Vikings’ tradition of ALWAYS losing the last game of the year when the Vikings are in contention. ALWAYS!

  37. Alan Light says:
    March 16, 2019 at 11:08 am

    All I know is the Vikings now have the same starters they did in 2017 when they were the #1 defense…plenty good enough for this layman….

    +++++++

    Problem is they have not done a thing to fix the offense, except say goodbye to Remmers and Murray. The defense lost Richardson and added Shamar Stephens. Why would anyone expect more than 8 wins next season?

  38. Speaking of Shamar…”Shamar Stephen missed the culture in year away from Vikings. Really the culture, being around the guys, the coaches,” Stephen said Thursday. “Getting back under Coach Dre [Andre Patterson] and doing my fundamentals, technique, stuff like that and being developed here because I was brought up here. It’s the first team I came to and they brought me through the NFL and made me the player that I am today.”

  39. packertruth:
    ——————
    Remmers was struggling. And Murray, while good, was the 2nd running back which can probably be replaced. They definitely need to address offensive line, most likely in the draft. They had a few key injuries again on the offensive line last year, Tony Sparano passing away, so there was that too. New offensive coordinator (prior one promoted to head coach), new quarterback, Griffen’s issues. Come on, how many more hits can you take before you’re knocked out.

  40. Game plan for Barr? Just keep your head on a swivel after the whistle.

    He’s lucky. The Vikings are the kind of team willing to turn a blind eye for him. Desperate teams do desperate things.

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