Apparently, J.T. Barrett has had something that he’s needed to get off his chest for quite a while, and on Wednesday he unloaded it. Boy, did he unload it.
After Barrett went down with the season-ending injury in the Michigan game and was replaced by the rocket-armed Cardale Jones, many a pundit noted that the “12-Gauge” attached to Jones’ right shoulder seemingly added an element to the offense that they presumed lacking under Barrett. That line of thinking continued on into the 2015 season as Jones was named the starter and remained there through the first seven games before being, presumably permanently, replaced by Barrett.
Now that one of Ohio State’s captains is back in command of the offense, Barrett, in a roughly three-minute solo performance that some referred to as a rant, “addressed” the arm-strength issue that most didn’t really know was an issue at all.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with the opening question dealing with how much Barrett wants and needs the deep ball to be a part of the offense with him directing it:
I mean, that’s the thing, it really didn’t change with Cardale in the game. And it didn’t when I played last year. Last year when I was playing, how many deep balls did I throw to Devin (Smith)? All the deep balls that we had were to Devin and I threw them. But I guess since I’m not 6-5 and 250 (Jones’ measurables) that I didn’t have a strong arm or something. I don’t know what that was about.
“Nothing changed when I got hurt. … It was our base plays and he just worked within it. So nothing’s changed. I even forgot about your question. I wanted to say that for a long time, I’m going to be honest with you.
“Because I don’t know what that was about. I threw deep balls the whole year and then Cardale’s in and it’s like, ‘He’s got a strong arm, he’s throwing the deep passes downfield.’
“‘What?! What are you talking about? I threw the same passes.’
“I was just like, ‘That’s crazy to me.’ If you go back and watch film, it was just like I threw a lot of deep balls. Were some of them underthrown? Absolutely. That was earlier in the year, I got better as the year went on.
“But I was like, ‘Man, I got a weenie arm?’ Now in the offseason I was all in my head all the time lifting weights because I felt like I couldn’t throw the deep ball because y’all was talking about me.
For the record, Barrett averaged 9.03 yards per attempt in his 12 starts last season; he averaged 12.38 in his lone start this season in Week 8 against Rutgers. In three starts, all in the postseason, Jones averaged 9.89 yards per attempt; this season in seven starts it was 8.33.
There’s no doubt that Jones has more arm than Barrett. Hell, there aren’t many quarterbacks at any level with a stronger arm than Jones. As Barrett has shown these last two games, though, he brings something to the gun show that Jones doesn’t possess and which makes the Buckeyes a much better and more dangerous offensive team: the ability to hurt teams in the running game.
That said, here’s to hoping Barrett feels better having gotten that load off his mind.