Long lauded for his toughness and tenacity when he's on the field, defensive end Derek Barnett plays with an edge. Sometimes, he says, that edge gets the best of him with penalty flags. It is something that Barnett agrees he needs to improve upon.
"It's something I need to correct and am continually working on," said Barnett, who has been called for a pair of costly penalties the last couple of weeks. "I can't put my team in a tough position even if it's 5 yards, 10, whatever it is. If I'm hurting the team in that way, we're not focused on the main goal, which is winning. I have to correct that issue."
Barnett said that Nick Sirianni has discussed the topic and that the emphasis from the head coach is that the entire team needs to improve with its penalty situation. The Eagles lead the league in penalties called through three weeks.
"I just have to be smart, especially in critical situations. Just be smarter mentally," said Barnett, who has been called for 23 penalties since the Eagles selected him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Barnett is part of a defensive end group that must step up in Brandon Graham's absence. The task on Sunday is a tough one with the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town. Philadelphia has done a lot of good things defensively through its 1-2 start, including allowing an average of 4.7 yards per play to rank among the best in the league.
"We all have each other's backs and we're excited to play," Barnett said. "Every game is a great opportunity for us."