PHILADELPHIA – Wrapping up a short week between Eagles games…
Derek Barnett talked on Friday for the first time in, well, a very long time.
It’s probably no wonder, too, since the maligned defensive end wasn’t asked a single question about Sunday’s opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hot topics: His penalties and Josh Sweat’s contract.
Sweat’s contract likely spelled the end of Barnett’s time in Philadelphia after arriving in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
He will likely be a free agent when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Given the choice between signing him or Sweat, the Eagles picked Sweat, awarding him a three-year contract extension that could be worth $42 million and guarantees him $26M the day before the Week 2 home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
“I was excited when Josh signed his contract because Josh had a great camp and he’s been working his butt off,” said Barnett. “You can see his improvements every day, so I was very excited.
“When it comes to myself personally, when that situation comes when it gets there it will take care of itself.”
Barnett hasn’t made much impact in the first three games. He has nine tackles, four of which are solo stops, but is still seeking his first sack.
He stood out against the 49ers for his late hit after the whistle that gave SF a pivotal first down rather than facing a third-and-long.
It was the eighth personal foul of Barnett’s career and his 23 penalties in four-plus seasons are more than his career sack total of 19.5
“It’s something I need to correct, and I continue to work on,” he said. “Can’t put my team in a tough position, even if it’s five yards, 10, whatever it is. If I’m hurting the team in that way, I’m not focused on the main goal, which is winning. So, I need to correct that issue.
“I just have to be smarter. When I’m on the field, bullets flying, it’s a different type of environment, but I need to be smarter in those situations and not continue to make the same mistakes over again.”
The Eagles activated second-year offensive lineman Jack Driscoll and cornerback Josiah Scott on Saturday from Injured Reserve.
Driscoll’s activation is interesting in that he played guard during training camp and in exhibition games after spending his rookie year as a tackle.
It's reasonable to assume that Driscoll will play right guard while Landon Dickerson moves over to left guard.
Once upon a time, Steve Nelson played for the Kansas City Chiefs. They selected him in the third round of the 2015 draft. In his third year, Patrick Mahomes arrived, but it was a year later that Mahomes finally became the starter.
So, Nelson spent two seasons with the current KC starting signal-caller before leaving for Pittsburgh in free agency.
“Me and my old teammates, who have gone and retired now, we talk about it today, how he used to shred us on the first-team defense, and like, stuff he was doing was like, crazy. We always knew he had talent.”
Mahomes is probably even better now than he was then.
“Yeah, it has been a while,” Nelson said. “In my recent years in Pittsburgh, I haven’t played against him since. Everybody knows what type of player he is from that standpoint. It’s kind of learning all over again.”
The defensive tackle has been the Eagles’ best player in three games, even one of the best at his position in the league.
He has made 18 tackles, 10 of which are solo, with five tackles for loss and four sacks.
Hargrave is the first NFL defensive tackle to record 15-plus tackles and four-plus sacks in the first three games of the season since Hall of Famer Warren Sapp in 1999.
That’s good company.
Also, Pro Football Focus has Hargrave ranked first among all defensive players on third and fourth downs.
Hargrave checks in with a 94.7 grade compared to Chandler Jones and Cameron Heyward, each of whom has a 93.2. Marshon Lattimore (92.2) and Joey Bosa (92.0) round out the top five.
- CLOSING NOTES
- Jason Kelce will make his 109th straight start, the longest active streak by a center in the NFL.
- QB Jalen Hurts has the fifth-most total yards (2,057) by an NFL quarterback in their first seven career starts, behind Cam Newton, Justin Herbert, Mahomes, and Bill Volcek.
Hurts is the second NFL QB to record 1,600-plus passing yards (1,691) and 400-plus rushing yards (451) in his first seven starts, joining Robert Griffin III (1,601 passing, 468 rushing).
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.