Connor Barwin spent the first four years of his career in Houston, the next four years in Philadelphia, and now he finds himself in Los Angeles. The 2009 second-round pick signed a one-year deal with the Rams in March.
“A big part of it was Wade Phillips,” Barwin said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show, referring to the Rams defensive coordinator. “I played for Wade my third and fourth year in Houston. He took us from the 30th-worst defense in the NFL to the second-best defense in the NFL in one year – and that was actually during the lockout year, so we didn’t even have an offseason. He’s probably my favorite coach I’ve ever had. You saw what he did in Denver, what he did with that defense and those guys, so I was really excited to have this opportunity to play for him again.”
Phillips, who turns 70 in June, works for Sean McVay, who turned 31 in January. That’s quite an age difference. In fact, Barwin played against McVay in college when they were at Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio, respectively.
Still, Barwin, 30, has tremendous respect for his head coach.
“Man, he’s been so impressive,” Barwin said. “He was impressive when I came here and signed, but just to see the way he’s communicated to the team in a team setting and the way that he’s talked to me and talked to guys the last week, it’s been really impressive. He’s a year older than me, but just to see the way he communicates with all the guys has been nothing short of impressive. He makes things easy to understand, and then you can just tell subtly (from) the way he talks about football that he knows everything about offense and a whole bunch about defense.”
The Rams hope to improve on their 4-12 record from a season ago. The franchise hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2003, when it went 12-4.