A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 16.
OK, I realize Washington Redskins "safety" Kevin Barnes made a couple of (glaring) mistakes against the Jaguars, but he fought through that and made the interception that set up the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 win. Barnes was a third-round pick by the Redskins in the 2009 draft and he really hasn't done much to distinguish himself. But with the Skins in bad shape at safety because of injuries, Barnes moved over from cornerback.
His teammates have bragged on the way he performs at cornerback in practice, but we haven't seen much evidence on the field. When Jags quarterback David Garrard dropped back to pass against a heavy rush, he tried to slip the ball to his talented tight end Marcedes Lewis. Barnes read the play all the way and was able to get inside position before making the grab.
Barnes later told reporters that he'd practiced against that play all week, so he knew exactly what to do. A guy like Barnes, who wasn't drafted by the Mike Shanahan regime, is playing for a roster spot next season. And I'd have to say he took a major step in the right direction this past Sunday.
The former Maryland star has always had the potential, but he wasn't really able to take it to the field. On Sunday, he displayed the ability to forget about his mistakes and stay focused with the game hanging in the balance. I started to go ahead and give the award to Michael Vick in anticipation of what he's going to do to the Vikings tonight, but Barnes seemed like the right choice.
Vick's had three NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards and a phone call from President Obama, so I think he needs a breather.