Eagles

Eagles see no malicious intent, but Derek Barnett needs to walk fine line

Eagles see no malicious intent, but Derek Barnett needs to walk fine line

After Thursday night’s game in Green Bay, Derek Barnett told reporters he wasn’t trying to make a dirty play. He wasn’t trying to injure Packers running back Jamaal Williams. 

The Eagles say they believe him. 

“Derek’s the type of guy who is going to play through the whistle,” Eagles DL coach Phillip Daniels said. “And I thought on that situation right there, that he was playing through the whistle. It’s hard to hear out there on that field sometimes. I just told him to be smart. At the same time, I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that goes out there to try to hurt anybody. He’s just doing his job and playing through the whistle.”

Playing through the whistle is one thing, but Barnett has to be careful not to earn a reputation. If the Eagles are to be believed, he shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

“I know the first play, Derek is running to the football on a pass play,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “We put a lot of emphasis on guys running to the football, and he's going in trying to get the ball out. He's trying to get a fumble. He's not targeting anyone. He's going in trying to get the football. We want guys hustling. We want guys trying to get that.”

Some thought Barnett deserved to be ejected from the game, but he wasn’t. He stayed in and even had a huge strip sack later in the evening. And, according to ESPN, Barnett is not expected to be suspended for the hit. But you can bet a fine is coming his way. 

While Barnett didn’t necessarily lead with the crown of his helmet, this was clearly a helmet-to-helmet hit. And there’s really no place for it. 

Last season, Barnett had just two penalties — both offside calls — in six games. 

But through four games in 2019, Barnett has been penalized five times for 40 yards. Just five players in the league have been flagged more. And two of Barnett’s penalties have been for unnecessary roughness — one on Thursday and one on this blindside block (all the way left on your screen) following an interception in Week 2. 

One of the things the Eagles love about Barnett is his relentless motor. He rallies to every ballcarrier. On Thursday, that meant putting a hit on Williams just after the whistle sounded. Based on the TV broadcast, it seemed like Barnett had begun to initiate the hit as the whistle blew. Still, it was a scary and unnecessary hit that landed Williams in the hospital. 

The good news is that Williams will be OK. He has a concussion but avoided what could have been a truly devastating injury. For what it’s worth, Barnett apologized to Williams as he was being stretchered off the field. If you take no solace in that, I understand, but Barnett isn’t known for being a dirty player. At least not yet. 

“I tell him not to slow down,” Eagles defensive captain Malcolm Jenkins said. “I think the one thing that makes Derek special is he plays every play with one speed and that’s full speed. That’s how you’re supposed to play the game. Some things happen in this game. It’s a violent sport. I just tell him don’t change anything about his game.” 

Barnett has played 206 snaps this season (he has played well, by the way), so to look at two of them and worry about his gaining reputation might seem premature. But because of Barnett’s playing style, he’s going to be rallying to ballcarriers late and he’s always going to play through the whistle. That’s who he is and that’s a good thing. 

Barnett just needs to be careful. 

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Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

Eagles Injury Update: Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Kamu Grugier-Hill miss practice again

For the second straight day, the Eagles were without three key players at practice. 

Derek Barnett (ankle), Kamu Grugier-Hill (concussion) and Nelson Agholor (knee) all missed Friday’s session after also missing Thursday. 

It’s rare for players to miss the first two practice days of the week and play that weekend. 

Barnett, it seemed, hurt his ankle during the loss to the Dolphins but was able to finish the game, playing 50 snaps. This season, Barnett is second on the team in sacks with 4 1/2 and has played more snaps (78 percent) than any other defensive lineman. 

The only other defensive players to play more than him this season are Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. 

If Barnett can’t play on Monday, it’s likely Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat will see more playing time and perhaps Genard Avery will see a few more snaps. Maybe even Daeshon Hall or Shareef Miller might get to play a bit. 

Agholor has been dealing with his knee injury since the Patriots game. He missed the game against Seattle, but returned last week to play 63 snaps against the Dolphins. Last week, Agholor was limited in practice the first two days of the week and was not given a game status. 

If Agholor can’t play, Greg Ward could perhaps have a bigger role on Monday night. 

Meanwhile, Grugier-Hill didn’t report concussion symptoms until Thursday and was then placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol. Based on the timing of all that, it seems like a long shot that he’ll be able to play on Monday night. 

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Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

Jerry Jones was BIG cranky on radio interview day after Cowboys' Week 14 loss to Bears

The one bit of solace Eagles fans can take from the 2019 season so far is that it’s been a complete disaster for the Cowboys too. 

On Friday morning, the day after the Cowboys lost to the Bears to fall to 6-7, a cranky Jerry Jones joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas for his weekly spot and the station had to briefly drop his call after two consecutive swear words in the interview. 

But Jones came out of the gate cranky. 

The Cowboys’ owner and GM was asked if he had any answers for the way the team is playing right now and his answer was short: 

“We’re not playing very well.”

Are you embarrassed? 

That was the question that set him off a little bit.  

Hey, get your damn act together yourself. OK? Now, we’re going to have a good visit this morning but settle down just a little bit. We’ve got a lot to go over, now go on with your question. But I’m going to give you the answers I want to give you this morning. And I don’t like your attitude to come in. I’ve been traveling all night and I don’t have the patience to jack with you today.

A little later, Jones was asked if he understands why there are so many questions about head coach Jason Garrett. 

Here was his answer with the swear word at the end. 

Of course I understand why they come up. Our fans are interested. They’re frustrated that we’re not playing better and I understand that and I know. That goes with the territory. And I fully expect to have those questions and I know that if you really think about it, if I did have answers as to different directions regarding talent … if I did, I would not share them right now. Because, first of all, if you’ve got other teams’ talent in mind, that’s tampering. Even if you had something in mind, unless they’re not involved in the National Football League right now and that wouldn’t be smart if they were involved other places. So we want to do a good job here, I want to do a good job with you guys but there’s a whole bunch of time where I have to bulls--- the hell out of you.

One of the hosts then said he totally understood that. 

To which, Jones replied: “Do you understand bulls---?” 

That was when the radio station’s system took over and dropped the call with the Cowboys owner. The program director explained that they had to hit the dump button twice in a short span of time and the system is designed to then kill all sound but the hosts. 

A bit later, Jones rejoined the program. 

“I had been talking the whole time,” Jones said. 

Strange interview, but definitely worth the listen. 

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