Philadelphia Eagles talk: Jim Schwartz’s new dilemma with Saquon Barkley


Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz may continue to have a bit of a dilemma with defending Saquon Barkley going forward.

Just look at the numbers. In just his first game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Saquon Barkley toted the rock 13 times for a grand total of 130 yards and a touchdown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he also led the New York Giants in receiving, tacking on an additional 99 yards on nine grabs. That brings us immediately to Jim Schwartz.

Not too long ago, one of the debates surrounding Philly’s leader on defense was whether or not the best head coach on the Eagles staff was actually their defensive coordinator. That led to some discussion about whether or not Schwartz would leave to coach somewhere else.

Fast forward, and after a blistering performance by Tom Brady versus Schwartz’s defense in Super Bowl LII and after a slow start on defense in 2018, all the talk surrounding Schwartz’s potential return to the head coaching ranks have all but evaporated.

No longer is he the hot candidate. To be honest, some are even asking if his scheme may have run its’ course in Philly. Performances like the one Saquon Barkley just had in his first start versus the Eagles have heightened that.

It’s an uncomfortable thought to think that Barkley is a guy that Philly’s going to be seeing twice a year for the foreseeable future. ‘General Schwartz’ spoke on that a little when he addressed the Philly media on Monday:

"With him (Barkley), I don’t know if I’d tag those as missed tackles or just yeah.. Tip the hat to him.. He was tough to handle.. A lot of our game plan went to trying to minimize Odell Beckham’s touches.. (That) made us a little more vulnerable to a running back. That was a calculated risk. Probably the most disappointing (thing) there was not (being able to) lay a glove on him the one time he went 55 (yards) or whatever it was for the touchdown.."

Let’s talk a little basketball.

It’s long been said that the NFL is a ‘copycat league’. One might even venture to say that great coaches mimic other great coaches.

To be honest those lines often cross into other forms of athletics. Perhaps defending Barkley (or Beckham) can be described in the same manner that some used to describe attempting to defend Michael Jordan.

Once upon a time, there were two theories in defending ‘MJ’.

One involved a theory where you could try and neutralize him (that one never worked after the Detroit Pistons got older).

Then, there was the other option. You could let Jordan get his and try and stop everyone else.

This past Thursday, Beckham played the role of ‘MJ’.

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Sure, the Eagles held him in check a little. He was limited to a very pedestrian six catches for 44 yards.

There was just one issue. Barkley was up to the task and did a very nice job of playing the role of Scottie Pippen.

A recent contract extension for Beckham now means Philly will see both ‘OBJ’ and Barkley for a while. Throw in guys like Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, and Schwartz and the Eagles’ defense have a ton to think about. Whatever happens, one thing’s certain.

Philly can’t afford to give up 229 yards from scrimmage to Beckham, Barkley or anyone else each time they line up against their rivals. That definitely isn’t a recipe for success going forward.