Eagles DC calls Lamar the 'most dangerous player' in NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Putting aside the occasional gaffe, like putting a linebacker one-on-one with a deep threat on third down, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has seen his fair share of quarterbacks and can usually put together a scheme to give his team a chance.
Nearly 25 years of NFL coaching experience will do that for you, so when he says someone is the most dangerous player in the league, you can probably take him at his word.
“Lamar Jackson is probably the most dangerous player in the league,” Schwartz said Tuesday. “There are times you can do everything right on defense and you can’t catch him or he can throw a ball sidearm underneath of a free rusher and complete a pass.”
Jackson quickly became one of the best players in the league last season, leading the Ravens to a 14-2 record and taking home a unanimous MVP award. The playoffs proved to be a letdown, but it hasn’t seemed to hinder Jackson nor the Ravens’ offensive attack in 2020. They’re 4-1 and still boast an elite rushing attack (2nd in yards, 1st in YPC).
“I think you have to have a resilient attitude when you play him and you know that a playmaker like him is going to make some plays, you just have to limit his big plays,” Schwartz said. “They’re a strong running team, not just with Lamar Jackson but with Mark Ingram, all their running backs are good, powerful running backs.”
The Ravens will have their own set of challenges with Schwartz’s defense this Sunday. His unit is coming off a disappointing loss to the Steelers and the Eagles are in need of a win to vault themselves back toward the top of an incredibly weak NFC East.
The Eagles have had success against mobile quarterbacks under Schwartz, primarily due to his heavy use of zone coverage. Philly typically only rushes four and drops everyone into coverage with an emphasis on stopping the run.
Even though they’ve played more man with Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay on the roster, the Eagles still rank ninth in the NFL in yards per carry (3.9). Based on what Baltimore’s strengths are, it’s likely they’ll see a multitude of different defenses this week.
“There’s a lot of ways to try to battle scrambling quarterbacks or guys with legs,” Schwartz said. “You can blitz. You can play visual zone where you have a lot of eyes on him. You can play man with spies. There’s a lot of different ways to be able to handle that. I don’t want to give too much of what we would do personnel-wise when it comes to Sunday, but that’s certainly a thing is [Jackson’s] run keepers on first and second down and then scrambling to keep plays alive.”
For Jackson and the Ravens, it’ll be harder to bust big plays against this group. They’ll have to methodically work their way down the field.
Then again, the Eagles have been full of surprises this year both good and bad. Maybe they’ll try out their one-on-one linebacker coverage on Marquise Brown at some point. They might even throw Jalen Hurts out there at corner since they love his positional versatility enough to burn a second-round pick on a backup quarterback.