Doug Pederson on Wednesday confirmed the bad news we heard the day before. Derek Barnett is done for the year.
The Eagles' second-year defensive end had shoulder surgery on Tuesday for the same injury he suffered against the Titans earlier in the season.
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In losing Barnett, the Eagles lose one of their most consistent defensive linemen, who was playing at a high level before the injury.
So what's the plan now?
Pederson said they have options.
It seems pretty clear that Michael Bennett will assume a starting role in Barnett's absence, but Pederson mentioned this will be a chance for rookie Josh Sweat to get more snaps.
Sweat, the fourth-round pick out of Florida State, has played just 15 defensive snaps so far this season.
"I think he's done a great job," Pederson said. "He's working the service team, working his reps there and he's getting time with the D-line. Does a great job. I think he's explosive off the ball, he's long, has been around the passer, can be disruptive. This will be a great opportunity for him."
Sweat is going to need to play more the rest of this season, but we haven't seen enough of him in games to know if he's ready. Sweat did show some flashes during training camp, especially in 1-on-1 drills. Explosive is the right word. He showed that this summer.
But this season, until now, the Eagles weren't willing to expand their four-man defensive end rotation to five. Without Barnett, everyone slides up and Sweat is a part of it. It's fair to wonder if he'll take a full role in the four-man rotation or if the Eagles will ease him in.
The more Sweat can play, the better it will be for the team because it means the Eagles can continue to play Bennett at defensive tackle, where they're already extremely light.
In any case, it hurts to lose Barnett for the season. He tried to play through the injury after missing a game, but it apparently wasn't sustainable.
"[Barnett is] a tremendous player," Pederson said. "He's going to bounce back from this and be better than ever. It's disappointing. Any athlete would be disappointed with a situation like this."
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