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The game Alex Trebek hosted helped teach Eagles’ Jim Schwartz the importance of quick answers

Watching "Jeopardy!", Schwartz learned that having the right answer is not enough, you have to get it faster than your competition.

“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who died Sunday from cancer, left an impact on millions, including Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who died Sunday from cancer, left an impact on millions, including Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

In addition to being a teammate and friend of comedian Jim Gaffigan at Georgetown in the late 1980s, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was part of a group of fiercely competitive Jeopardy! watchers, each of whom wanted to be the first to yell out the correct answer.

Schwartz told NBC’s Peter King that Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died Sunday at age 80, trained him to be a coach. Asked about that Monday in his weekly session with reporters, Schwartz said he wasn’t talking about learning football but about processing knowledge and reacting quickly.

“I was a sophomore and junior in college. I didn’t even know I was going to go into coaching,” said Schwartz, who was a Georgetown linebacker. "We were just playing for fun, and it was an ultra-competitive environment, but you look back and see lessons learned from stuff like that, and you see the carryovers to football. It’s not just getting the right answer. It’s getting the right answer quicker than everybody else.

"I’ve always talked to football players about this. It’s like, ‘Hey, what’s two plus two? Four.' And somebody else says ‘Two plus two,’ and they go ‘[pausing, counting on fingers] four.’ Well, both of them got the right answer, but the other one, the ball was snapped and the running back just ran right past you.

"There’s that, and when you’re a defensive coach in particular, you’re reacting when you make your play calls. You guys see, I very rarely have a play sheet or a call. I might have some notes written down on one small page, but that’s about it. The reason is, you have to react to what personnel group you’re getting, the down-and-distance, all those different things. You can’t pick a play, the way offensive coaches do.

"And then just Alex Trebek in general, his command over the game. I thought it was always interesting, you never knew if he really knew the answer or ... he sold it because it was written on his card. You know -- ‘Oh, no, Henry the VIII, Henry the VI,’ that kind of thing, just having command over the game and the players.

“He was such a professional. He never flubbed a word. He never flubbed a syntax. So you knew that every question, he had read probably 20 times, and that’s a lot of questions on the board. He prepared himself, and it showed in his performance.”

» READ MORE: Philadelphia shares stories of Alex Trebek: ‘As much a part of 6ABC as the theme music to Action News’

Eagles start the Seumalo clock

We hadn’t heard much about left guard Isaac Seumalo’s recovery from the knee injury he suffered during the Week 2 loss to the Rams, until the Eagles announced Monday that they were starting the 21-day practice clock on Seumalo’s return from injured reserve.

That means the team has three weeks to either bring Seumalo back to the active roster or place him on injured reserve for the season. Obviously, the Eagles will bring Seumalo back to the roster, but how soon? He’s missed six games. Can he be ready to play this week against the Giants, presumably allowing Nate Herbig to move back to right guard, and making Matt Pryor a reserve again? Or will Seumalo need more time?

The team also brought back defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, who had a hand in the January 2019 playoff “double doink,” to the practice squad, and released running back Adrian Killins from that unit. Killins played in one game, and had one carry for minus-12 yards on a sweep. He also caught a pass for 2 yards.