Eagles Camp Notes, Quotes and Tidbits: Derek Barnett Vs. Jason Peters

It's pretty daunting, even for a first-round pick. 

Over the last two days there have been times when rookie Derek Barnett gets in his stance, turns his eyes up, and sees a 330-pound future Hall of Famer staring back at him. 

Welcome to the NFL, rookie. 

Now try to get past Jason Peters. 

"It's exciting," Barnett said, "going against somebody who's going to be in the Hall of Fame. It's only going to help me get better. He's a beast, so it's going to help me a lot. When we get into the season and I start playing games, it's only going to help me get better." 

This is obviously Barnett's first training camp. This is No. 14 for the 35-year-old Peters. There's not much Peters hasn't seen. 

Still, Barnett held his own. 

"He's going to have the duty to meet every challenge that comes along," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "He's been up for it so far. He had a really good rush against [Peters] yesterday. It was maybe one out of four, but it still was there. We're excited about it." 

During the spring, Barnett actually had some success going up against Lane Johnson. Either way, there are some good challenges for the rookie in Eagles camp. 

"Your technique has to be good going against them," Barnett said. "I can't give away none of my tips. I have to make sure all of my rushes are the same. They've gone against great guys and they're really good and their strong and athletic, so they can move really well. It's just me not giving away no ticks and closing the space between me and the tackle as quickly as possible."

While it's normally too hectic at practice to ask Peters for tips on the field, Barnett tries to talk to the offensive linemen whenever he can. He likes to learn how they knew what he was going to do and if he has any tells.

Barnett has been working on an inside spin move and said he's making progress on it. The main thing, in his eyes, is to make all of his rushes look the same to the tackle and not give anything away. 

Movin' on up
After the Eagles released Marcus Smith this week - Smith is heading to Seattle (see story) - one of the full-size locker stalls became available. 

Now it belongs to Barnett, who had been at one of the temporary pop-up stalls in the middle of the room. 

"Yeah, I'm pretty happy," he said. "Got to work every day so I can keep the locker."

Why didn't Smith work out? 
Jim Schwartz was in Buffalo when the Eagles used a first-round pick to draft  Smith, but he was his coach last year. 

Friday was the first time reporters had a chance to talk with Schwartz since Smith was cut. 

So why didn't it work? Was it the scheme change? 

"Yeah, I think the biggest thing in not working out, as far as this year, is the other acquisitions that we made, you know, and where we were," Schwartz said. "And it really sort of put us up against, ‘How are we going to get reps for all these guys?' We do like a good, young player in the pipeline in Alex McCalister. [We] had drafted, obviously drafted Derek [Barnett], and brought in Chris [Long]. You know, so that made it difficult. 

"You know, he played some good football last year for us. He got a sack on (Dallas Cowboys T) Tyron Smith on the third play of the Dallas game that was a good sack. We just, you know, I think it just got to the point that there are only so many reps at practice, so many reps in training camp, and we devoted those to the guys that we brought in, plus the other guys that we've had."

Backup linebackers
The Eagles seemingly have their top three linebackers set: Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks. After that there are several players fighting for spots. 

So what are coaches looking for from the backups in camp? 

"You know, I don't want to speak for (special teams coordinator Dave) Fipp, but obviously special teams is a big part of that equation," Schwartz said. "Probably about , I don't know, league wide, 65, 70 percent of the game is played out of three wide receivers now."

When teams use three wide receivers, it means more nickel packages on defense with just two linebackers on the field. The Eagles were in nickel way more than they were in base lsat year.  

"You know, the linebacker position has changed, and it's changed because of what the offense is presenting to us," Schwartz said. 

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