Derek Barnett, expected to ascend to stardom this season as a starting defensive end, said Wednesday that it is too soon to say what sort of year he is having.
Barnett, drafted 14th overall in the 2017 first round, has two sacks, while playing 76 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps in the first six games. He and the 3-3 Eagles face a crucial NFC East matchup at 3-3 Dallas this Sunday night.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson defended Barnett Wednesday, telling reporters: "He’s doing a lot. He’s playing hurt, he’s practicing hurt, he’s busting his tail. He’s doing everything he can for this football team, for himself.
“You look at these games and the explosive [opposition] plays have come off play-action pass. The fact that you ask why the lack of production, when the quarterback gets the ball out of his hands so fast, you take two steps and the ball is gone, there is no production, now you have to turn and chase ... [Opponents] know the type of pass rushers we have.”
Barnett rehabbed a surgically repaired shoulder this offseason, and has been listed on the injury report with shoulder, leg and back problems, but is not currently listed. Pressed for details, Pederson said Barnett is sore, and that everyone is, as the season wears on.
Barnett seemed surprised.
“Doug said I was hurt? Everybody’s hurt. That’s football,” Barnett said.
“Gotta come harder, keep in fighting, do whatever we’ve got to do to get to the quarterback, whatever we’ve got to do to keep on going,” he said, when asked if the lack of production from the D-line has been frustrating.
How does he assess how he is playing?
“I think it’s too early to speak on that,” Barnett said. “There’s still a lot of football left to be played. I would rather wait 'til the end of the season to speak on that.”
Pederson said Wednesday that DeSean Jackson is now listed as “day-to-day,” though Jackson is still just running on his own and isn’t practicing with the team, as he recovers from his Week 2 abdominal injury. “He’s working and he’s getting close,” Pederson said.
It seems unlikely Jackson will play in Dallas.
Linebacker Alex Singleton was promoted from the practice squad Wednesday to fill the roster spot left by Zach Brown, released after the Minnesota loss.