AGAIN, LB/DE Connor Barwin has made his wish to comeback to Philadelphia, publicly known. It was a good idea when I wrote about it last March, and it’s still a good idea now. The only question is: Are the Eagles smart enough to pull the trigger? By the way, we should also grab RB Darren Sproles while we’re at it.
No. I’m not interested in an Eagles reunion tour.
What? No! Wrong Eagles! Ooooohh in it’s entirety? No. Never mind that.
Look, I’ve been a fan of bringing back Barwin for years now. On Sproles, I’ve had a recent change of heart, following a recent change of heart. However, as it stands now, both players would be a Necessary Luxury. Yes, the statement is oxymoronic. Allow me to explain.
Barwin is more of a 3-4 OLB than a typical 4-3 DE. However, in a Wide 9 front, the DE position operates more like an OLB with space around it. This puts emphasis on containment and then penetration, as opposed to block stacking and then penetration. Both are examples of setting an edge, but the tactic is different. Last time I checked, Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz still employ a Wide 9 front.
With the recent retirement of DE Chris Long, there is a hole here. Second year DE’s Josh Sweat and Joe Ostman, along with rookie DE Shareef Miller, would all like a shot at the 4th spot behind DE’s Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry. In fact, it makes sense to elevate a youngin. The trouble is the lack of versatility, which the Eagles covet. Every guy on this list is a defensive lineman. They aren’t meant for playing in space.
Barwin can play with his hand in the dirt, and can can also offer some value as zone coverage LB. He’s played both ILB and OLB, so the Eagles can move him around either situationally, or in the case of an injury. True or false: LB depth has been an issue for the Eagles for a while now? See? Necessary luxury. Barwin is a great locker room influence and also truly embraces the city of Philadelphia itself. In the absence of Long, you really can’t ask for better.
Sproles, is a quietly intriguing case. When I talk to people about him, they always go right to discussing how we don’t need him, because we have RB Miles Sanders. While there may be some truth to that, there is no such thing as too much depth at RB. (Just compare 2018 to 2017.) Besides, if Sproles doesn’t come here, he’s going to New Orleans. Do we need that? Do we?
Also, what most people fail to realize is that right now, as you read this on June 30th 2019, the two most accomplished return men on the Eagles team are WR DeSean Jackson, and RB Corey Clement. Using DJax as a regular returner AND starting WR is stupid. Especially at his age and with his hamstring history. As I said in a prior article Clement has a grand total of 6 (I say again, just 6) career punt returns and just 15 kick returns.
Seems like maybe an on-field mentor would be good to have around. Teach the young guys? See? Necessary luxury. In addition to that, RB Coach Duce Staley has indicated that there might be a budding coach in Sproles. If we can transition him here, it’d be a ton of current wisdom to have in our stockpile.