A conversation with Eric Barton

Eric Barton left the Oakland Raiders to join the Jets as their new starting weakside linebacker this offseason. He talked with Randy Lange of The Record and Jets Confidential after a recent organized team activity (OTA) practice.<p>

Q)Now that you've been a Jet for a few months and practiced as a Jet, what do you think of your new team?

Barton: It's a great atmosphere around here, a great environment. It's a young team, and it's nice to be here. Hopefully we can get things going.

Q)Why did you want to leave Oakland?

Barton: I just knew I wanted to be on a young team with potential. The Jets are loaded with young players that are very good players. They're young but they've been in the league four, five, six years, like myself. This is a fresh start. And it was a chance for me to come back east and play in front of my family.

Q)Have you been able to visit with family and friends yet?

Barton: Oh, yeah, my parents have been up here several times -- they're in Virginia, and I still have a lot of friends at the University of Maryland. I feel more at home right here.

Q)How has coordinator Donnie Henderson been treating you so far?

Barton: Donnie's treating me fine. He's a coach with a lot of expectations, but that's what you want. If you want to be a great player, you need somebody who doesn't let you settle for less.

Q)How do you like the aggressive scheme he's installing?

Barton: What his scheme does is it puts everybody in the best position to make plays. It's a great defense for making plays, and we're getting our confidence up now, learning it and getting to know it like the backs of our hands.

Q)Do you talk a lot with your one-time Maryland teammate, LaMont Jordan?

Barton: Oh, yeah, we go out and eat pretty much every day after practice. It's good to have him here, to just show you the ropes, tell you where not to go, where to go. We get along great.

Q)When you first got here, you didn't want to talk about what happened to the Raiders last season. Now that you've settled in, is there anything you can reflect on about what happened?

Barton: It was a bad, bad year. We had a lot of injuries, and we didn't stay together as a team, I don't think. I had a great five years there, I love the guys there. But every good thing comes to an end.

Q)The Raiders played the Jets a lot during your time there. What did you think of them when you prepared to play them?

Barton: They have a very explosive offense, very complicated, hard to scheme, a lot of different formations. As a defensive player, you had to be on your game. They have Chad, Santana, LaMont -- LaMont killed us two years in a row.

Q)How much of a role did Herman Edwards play in bringing you here?

Barton: A lot. Who wouldn't want to play for a guy like that? It's great when you can have a head coach who actually played the game. He knows what guys are going through.

Q)It's been reported that Marvin Lewis has installed a clock in the Cincinnati locker room to count down the days, hours and minutes to the Bengals' season opener, which just happens to be against the Jets. Any thoughts about that?

Barton: Everybody knows when the first game is. You can count it down if you want, but we're going to be excited to be in that game as well. And that'll be my first game as a Jet, getting to play in front of that crowd. We'll all be ready.

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