Eagles Asked NFL for Clarity on Derek Barnett Penalty

If there’s one thing we know about Derek Barnett, it’s that he’s good for at least one dumbass penalty per game. He has more penalties than sacks this season.

But to be fair, there’s been a sequence or two this year where he’s been flagged on somewhat suspect plays. Him being pushed into the QB’s legs was one of those, and the penalty he got on Sunday in Denver was perhaps borderline:

He does put his head down and lead with the crown. Kind of falls on top of Teddy Bridgewater after the play as well. Two violations there? Just one?

Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon was asked about it this week and said this:

Q. What’s been your message to DE Derek Barnett after another couple penalties? (Jeff McLane)

JONATHAN GANNON: Just keep improving it. Just keep working on your game. It’s got to be on his mind, which it is. I love how DB played this last game. I know he had some production.

This guy, he’s playing winning football for us. The pre-snap stuff, we have to continue to practice that stuff and put him in those positions in practice, which helps.

The other one that he got (the roughing the passer), kind of a bang-bang. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. We got to keep educating our players, why that penalty was called over and over and over.

Q. Do you know why it was called? (Jeff McLane)

JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, we actually asked for some clarity from the NFL on that. Did he lead with his crown or did he fall on him with the body weight? So, I actually haven’t heard back on that.

But they’re always going to protect the quarterbacks. And you saw the one third down where [LB] Alex [Singleton] and [DT] Milton [Williams] hit him later in the game, I think it was in the fourth quarter, and Milton did a good job of instead of landing on him — which that’s hard, you guys. They’re going full speed, full tilt, and they’re hitting a guy, and it’s bang, bang. And all of sudden, oh by the way, as you are falling to the ground on top of this guy, pull off the guy. But those are the rules. And so, we have to enforce that and continue to educate our players and tell them about that, ‘Hey, you can’t land on a guy.’

That’s a tough rule for pressure players, whoever’s hitting the quarterback, to, ‘Hey, as you’re going to the ground, pull off.’ But those are the rules and we got to do a good job of it.

Q. As you are getting up, shouldn’t you roll off? Do you think that could have been the call, too, the way he pressed against him?(Jeff McLane)

JONATHAN GANNON: I looked at the tape. I mean, I think he was just getting up. But yeah you, obviously, want to get up, and slap him on the butt and say, ‘I’m going to come get you next time.’

There’s certainly some ambiguity here. The body weight thing is annoying, but they started enforcing that in recent seasons. “Lowering the helmet” was also an emphasis, so that’s what the Eagles are looking for here. They’re looking for clarity on which one of those things the refs specifically saw during this sequence.

Maybe they saw both?