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J.T. Barrett Unloads on His Ability to Throw the Deep Ball
By Patrick Murphy
J.T. Barrett argues he can throw the deep ball with the best of them
Photo by Jim Davidson

COLUMBUS – If you want to anger J.T. Barrett, bring up the thought that he can’t throw the deep ball. Specially talk about the fact that teammates and fellow quarterback Cardale Jones throws the ball down field better than him.

“That’s the thing,” Barrett started on Wednesday. “It really didn’t change with Cardale in the game and it didn’t change when I played last year.”

That was the beginning of a Barrett rant that lasted nearly three minutes.

“Last year when I was playing, how many deep balls did I throw to Devin,” Barrett inquired. “All the deep ball that we had were to Devin and I threw them. But I guess since I’m not 6’5” and 250, that I didn’t have a strong arm or something. I don’t know what that was about.”

With Barrett at quarterback last season, Smith only had one game with a long reception of less than 30 yards. With Jones, his shortest long reception was 44 yards.

While playing with Barrett, Smith’s long reception average was 38.6 yards per game, while it was 45.3 yards in the three games with Jones at quarterback.

But stats don’t tell the whole story.

“I threw deep balls the whole year and it was like, ‘Oh, Cardale’s in. He’s got the strong arm. They’re throwing deeper passes down field,’” Barrett said. “WHAT? What are you talking about? I did the same thing.”

While Barrett feels the criticism of his arm strength is unjust, he does admit there is a different between him and Jones.

“Now when the play breaks down and somebody’s 80 yards down field, am I going to throw it? Absolutely not,” Barrett said. “Cardale’s going to throw that. I’m not going to throw that. So I feel like that’s different.”

In those situations, Barrett is likely to scramble and try and pick up yards with his feet, while Jones will look to unload and find the deep receiver; both players using their natural abilities.

Barrett can get the ball down field, and he'll tell you about
Photo by Jim Davidson

As Barrett pointed out, he is capable of making big plays with his arm as well. Just take a look at last year’s biggest game at Michigan State.

“I don’t know. Maybe it does,” Barrett said of if that game showed off his arm. “I saw third and 23 and really the play was throw the ball to Devin down field and we completed the ball and it was like 40 yards downfield. But it was just like, I don’t know. I don’t remember it or nothing. Third and 23.”

Ultimately what Barrett is saying is that the offense didn’t change when Jones took over after his leg was broken against Michigan. Jones is able to get the ball further down field, but the deep shots were the same all year.

“In our base offense and throwing the deep ball, that’s just part of it,” Barrett explained. “We’re going to take shots and we’ve just got to complete them and we are. So it’s not anything different. I may get the ball out earlier being that my arm’s not as strong as his and he might get it out later. He could have an extra hitch or something like that, but it’s the same thing. There wasn’t anything different.”

Barrett admitted that this got to him. After hearing all offseason about how Jones changed the offense with his cannon for an arm, Barrett began to question his ability to throw the ball deep.

“I was like, ‘Man, I got a weenie arm,’” Barrett said with a chuckle. “Now all offseason, that was in my head all the time lifting weights because I feel like I couldn’t throw the ball deep because you all was talking bad about me.”

It was clear that this was bothering Barrett for a while. After starting 12 games a year ago and shredding many long-standing records, it was likely tough hearing about Jones and what he did better.

As of last Saturday, Barrett now has his starting job back. He also has a clear conscience, as he finally got all of his deep ball thoughts off his chest.

“It wasn’t aggravating me,” he said. “I was just like, ‘Man, they’re trying to play me.’

“That was just about it. That was something I was holding on to for a minute as you all can see. No, it’s good. I just wanted to say that. It’s been a minute.”

Player profiles relevant to story:
16 - Barrett, J.T.
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