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Jim Schwartz: Connor Barwin could see fewer game reps

Keeping Barwin fresh might help him do more in games.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Schwartz talked to reporters Thursday morning about the myriad things that went wrong in the Eagles’ Week 6 loss to Washington.

One interesting takeaway from Schwartz’s comments: when asked about Connor Barwin’s production through five games, Schwartz said the veteran defensive end might benefit from fewer reps during games.

“I think [Barwin] played — like a lot of our other guys, didn’t play his best game this last game,” Schwartz said. “He’s a guy that can probably benefit from lesser reps, and have maybe more production from lesser reps. We’ve been talking about that.”

It may sound a little jarring to hear a coach talk so openly about reducing a player’s role in the defense, but Schwartz’s intentions seem more like he is interested in keeping Barwin fresh and impactful, instead of letting a heavy workload wear down his effectiveness.

“It’s just tough in game situations, when you’re not doing well, everyone starts pressing and you start trying to do too much,” Schwartz said. “Maybe that includes playing too many reps. Connor’s a good player when he’s fresh, and going.”

Looking at the numbers, Barwin has taken at least 69% of the team’s defensive snaps in each game this season. On the season, he’s taken 79.2% of the team’s defensive snaps, good for sixth-most on the defensive side of the ball. The players who have taken more? Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Nolan Carroll, Nigel Bradham, and Jordan Hicks.

Despite taking so many snaps, Barwin’s production — both statistically and intangibly — has dropped precipitously. According to Pro Football Reference, Barwin has four tackles to go along with his lone sack this year, and his impact on opposing quarterbacks has been pretty low.

So maybe there’s something to be said for fewer snaps being sent Barwin’s way. He’s still quite an athlete. Hopefully Jim Schwartz can figure out what’s going on there.

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