Eagles’ Schwartz: ‘Derek(Barnett) is always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder’

Philadelphia Eagles DE Derek Barnett might be getting a reputation as a dirty player. In Week 4 against Green Bay,  the third-year player laid a vicious, helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers RB Jamaal Williams, which concussed Williams and sent him to the hospital, and last week against the Jets, during Nathan Gerry’s interception return for a touchdown, Barnett was called for a personal foul penalty for his block on Jets offensive lineman Alex Lewis.

While some may believe Barnett is a dirty player, Eagles DC Jim Schwartz does not think that is the case.

“Yeah, both my daughters wear Derek Barnett jerseys to the games, so that tells you how much I think of him,” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “Derek is always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder. It’s one of the things that makes him successful.

But you have to be careful about crossing that line, and interception returns traditionally have been — I mean, you go back and I don’t want to bore you — but like 20 years ago the interception return would be like nine guys on defense trying to go mess up the quarterback.

“You get offensive linemen that are knocking you around the pile or holding you the whole time, and now it’s like, I’m going to go get that guy back. You can’t make it a personal war. It has to be about the team, whether it’s who gets the sack or who gets the block, whatever it is.

“The one dynamic that’s a little bit different this year — doesn’t really affect — hasn’t had anything to do with Derek, but the whole peel-back block going in. We’ve tried to really emphasize that, because you can’t go in with any kind of force. You have to wall guys off with your hands.

“It’s so hard to make plays and get interceptions or scoop fumbles. The last thing you want to do is take that away with a penalty. Derek knows that. He just has to balance playing with that chip on his shoulder and playing tough and physical and hustling, all the things we love about him, and just make sure we don’t cross the line into doing something that hurts the team.

Those hits by Barnett were unnecessary, and in today’s NFL, those types of hits will get you fined and maybe even suspended. While it’s too soon to call Barnett a dirty player, it’s in Barnett’s best interest to clean things up moving forward.

Advertisements

Stills on Flores playing Jay-Z songs during practice: ‘I don’t think a little bit of Jay-Z is going to really ruffle my feathers’

Miami Dolphins WR Kenny Stills continues to kneel before every game during the National Anthem and recently, has been very critical of rapper Jay-Z’s recent partnership with the NFL.

On Tuesday, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores decided to play eight straight Jay-Z songs during practice, which some felt was in response to Stills’ criticism of Jay-Z. However, Stills was not bothered.

“It was just music, was my reaction,” Stills said after the Dolphins’ victory over Jaguars on Thursday night. “We play music at practice every day, and Coach (Flores) kind of came up to me during practice, and was like ‘we’re going to be playing Jay-Z today,’ and that was it.”

Stills revealed why Flores decided to go with that particular playlist.

“We talked about it in house, and he handled it in house, but for the most part I think it was just him trying to see if I could handle if someone was going to heckle me, or play Jay-Z music in another stadium, if I was going to be mentally strong enough to withstand that type of treatment I guess,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with this since 2016 – music, boos, racial slurs, so I don’t think a little bit Jay-Z is going to really ruffle my feathers that bad.”

After the Dolphins’ victory over the Jaguars, Flores revealed the method behind the madness:

“So after the playlist was done, what you guys don’t know is I walked up to Kenny in front of the entire group and said, this is a challenge to you to get open, catch the football and make plays for this team regardless of what’s going on outside of this building,” Flores said.

“The next day – because there was a lot more attention paid to this than I ever would have imagined – I got up in front of the team, and I told them that I support Kenny. I support Kenny. I support the player protests. I mean, quite honestly, they’re bringing attention to my story. So let’s talk about that. I’m the son of immigrants. I’m black. I grew up poor. I grew up in New York during the stop and frisk era, so I’ve been stopped because I fit a description before. So everything that these guys protest, I’ve lived it. I’ve experienced it. So, yeah, I applaud those guys who protest. So whether it’s (Colin) Kaepernick or Eric Reid or Kenny (Stills), I applaud those guys. I told Kenny that in our meeting, in front of the entire team. So that’s where I stand on this thing, and I think it got – it got way more press than it needed to.

“I’m trying to challenge one of my players, and I’m going to do that how I see fit. Look, what these guys protest about is important. I lived it. I experienced it. I don’t know how many people have, but I lived it. So I understand why guys protest, and it’s important. But you know what else is important to me? That guys perform. There’s 89 guys in that locker room who are counting on Kenny to get open, catch the football, and perform for this team, and that’s important to me. If anybody’s got a problem with that, then we’ve just got a problem. We’re going to agree to disagree.

“I feel like that’s important, and that’s where I stand on this thing. Whatever scrutiny or media or whatever I get, then that’s what I get. I believe, and that’s it. Look, the player protest, I lived it. I mean, I don’t know how many people in here have, but I lived it. So that’s where I’m at on that. It was a challenge to Kenny to perform regardless of whatever’s going on outside. I would say – and I’ve said this to him – he hasn’t performed to that level over the course of this training camp as I’ve seen him. So that was a challenge.”

Stills will definitely get heckled throughout the season, and in reality, you practice to prepare for all situations, including taunting, so on some level, you have to give Flores credit for recognizing the moment, and using it as a teachable moment.

 

Vikings re-sign RB Ameer Abdullah

The Minnesota Vikings have re-signed RB Ameer Abdullah, the team announced today.  The Homewood, Alabama, native was originally drafted by Detroit in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft (54th overall) before being claimed via waivers by the Vikings in Week 10 of the 2018 NFL season.

In 2018, Abdullah served as Minnesota’s primary kick returner for the last seven games of the regular season, finishing with 258 yards on 10 kick returns with a long of 33 yards.

Throughout his career, Abdullah has played in 42 career games with 22 starts, notching six rushing and three receiving touchdowns. The Nebraska graduate finished fifth in the NFL and second among rookies in 2015 with 1,857 all-purpose yards (597 rushing, 183 receiving and 1,077 kickoff) in his debut season.

What would AFFL’s Godspeed do with the $1 million prize money?(VIDEO)

It all comes down to this. After weeks of playing, we now have the Ultimate Final(championship game) all set in the American Flag Football League.

The Ultimate Final will take place at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houstson on Thursday(NFL Network) as Fighting Cancer battles Godspeed. The winning team will take home $1 million.

Last Saturday, in the Dual Finals, which took place at the Sellick Bowl on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis. Godspeed, who are led by former NFL RB Justin Forsett, defeated Chad Johnson’s Team Ocho 28-12 on the pro side of the bracket, while on the amateur side, Fighting Cancer beat The Money Team 35-26.

Who wins it all? Fighting Cancer has a great team, and has more experience in terms of Flag Football, but after watching Godspeed last week, I think Godspeed takes home the title. Their QB Seneca Wallace, who played 10 years in NFL, has been precise in this tournament. Wallace threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns against Team Ocho last Saturday. Plus, they have speed with Jahvid Best, who played for the Lions and competed in the 100m sprint at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Best scored two touchdowns against Team Ocho. Furthermore, Jason Avant, who played for the Eagles, Chiefs, and Panthers, was very impressive against Team Ocho(8 catches, 116, 1 TD), and has been impressive throughout this tournament. Godspeed has too much talent and too much speed, but that’s why they play the game.

You play to win the game, and you play for the money, so after the Dual Finals, we caught up with Godspeed and asked the question, “What are you going to do with the money?”

Take a listen:

Photo: AFFL / ASSOCIATED PRESS