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Barnes Preparing to Pinball into Ex-Teammates


Darian Barnes was with the Dolphins long enough to earn a nickname.

"We use to call him 'Full Tilt' here because he was always going full speed at practice — even on Fridays when everybody was trying to chill out," said DE Jason Taylor of the Jets' bruising fullback. "He was a good teammate. Full Tilt Barnes was fun."

The Jets added Barnes in the spring after he appeared in 24 games with the Dolphins over two seasons. This week, he'll see the AFC East rivalry from the other side when the Jets play host to the 'Fins.

"Have I circled this date? I haven't because I don't want to think about it. I just want to go and play," Barnes said. "I don't want to be like 'I'm going to go get these guys.' I am already half-crazy. I don't want to spend the whole week doing that. I am just going to prepare for these guys like they're any other team."

But he acknowledged the Dolphins don't prepare for the Jets like any other team. On Wednesday, Barnes spoke of "a different feel in the air" in Miami when the Green & White were next up on the schedule.

"It is going to be a physical matchup just based off what I've known about the team," he said. "They definitely have playmakers all over the place, so you have to account for them and you have to know where they are at all times because they have the capability to change the game. It is going to be a battle."

Practicing against players like Taylor, the AP's 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, and MLB Zach Thomas will help Barnes provide some added insight for his teammates.

"I kind of have a feel for those guys and what they want to do and how they take on blocks and how they want to execute certain things," he said. "I think it will be beneficial and I'll definitely share the information that I have about them with the offense."

The Dolphins — like the Jets — find themselves without a win entering the third week of the regular season. They've had a number of problems, but their proud defense, even with the addition of OLB Joey Porter, has not played well. Surprisingly, Miami has yielded 178.5 rush yards per game.

"There are plenty of things we can correct. It is not that alarming to us right now, but we definitely need to shore that up and not let it happen again this week," said Taylor who also pointed to missed tackles and a 36-yard effort from Cowboys QB Tony Romo as reasons for their high average.

But Barnes wouldn't say the Dolphins were struggling. He has seen first-hand how impressive that defense can be.

"It's early in the season and we're trying to right the ship, too," he said. "I don't expect them to come up here and struggle."

If Barnes suits up Sunday, he'll make his second appearance of the season. He was among the inactives against the Patriots before playing last week in Baltimore. The Jets ran the ball with mixed results against the Ravens, with Thomas Jones collecting 67 yards on 24 tough carries. Those aren't flashy numbers, but they may have come against the NFL's best defense.

"With a guy like that, you just have to give him a little crease and that guy is going to bull through holes," Barnes said of Jones. "It felt really good out there working with them and kind of seeing the line play, knowing how guys make their blocks. It is just continuity, guys getting a feel for each other."

The run game has also been hurt by the Jets being forced into a pass mode after falling behind. Barnes, who said his "heart sank" last year when Leon Washington blazed away on that 64-yard screen pass on Christmas night, knows both of last year's games weren't decided until the final gun.

"I can just tell you that it comes down to the wire all time. It's kind of like who is going to make the play in the last minute," he said. "The Jets have been successful at it and that's awesome. Hopefully we can continue that trend and do the same thing on Sunday."

When asked if "Full Tilt" will be amped up for Sunday, Taylor didn't leave room for doubt.

"He'll be yakking and being his crazy self," he said. "I don't know how well you've gotten to know him, but he's an interesting character."

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