No one knows if Jim Schwartz reads what the media posts, but here’s a stat that proves the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive coordinator should consider blitzing more in 2019.
After watching Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz‘s work for the past three seasons, we can all probably agree on something. To say the average Eagles fan’s love affair with him borders on hot and cold would be an understatement.
As much as you want to stand up and cheer when Philly’s defense plays lights out, you also want to rip your insides out when the Tennessee Titans or Carolina Panthers stage those dramatic late-game rallies. It may be hard to believe this now, but once upon a time, some were of the opinion that Schwartz should replace Doug Pederson as Eagles head coach.
After eight games in 2018, the Eagles were 4-4, and though there were many reasons for the losses, it’s the games against Tennessee and Carolina that stand out. In Nashville, the Titans were led back by Marcus Mariota who looked like Joe Montana against an Eagles defense that did all they could do to help him bring his team back.
They gave up long conversions on fourth down. They attempted something called a ‘picket fence’ (when they could have easily sent a blitz to rattle Mariota), and the Titans rallied with ten fourth-quarter points en route to a 26-23 win in overtime.
As hard as that was to watch, the loss at home to Carolina was worse. The Panthers staged a rally late in Week 7. This one was also in the fourth quarter but of the 21-point variety. With the help of those three touchdown passes from Cam Newton‘s arm. Carolina left Lincoln Financial Field with a 21-17 win. Again, the majority of the blame was heaped on the defense.
To this day, many still wonder why Schwartz didn’t put more pressure on Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. When Philly sat back in coverage, they were ripped to shreds. Once, they got creative and sent the house, they came up with the most famous strip-sack, perhaps, in NFL history.
For whatever reason, Schwartz just seems to hate sending the blitz, but here’s something that may make him reconsider. According to Pro Football Focus, opposing teams had a 39.6 percent success rate against Philly on plays where they applied pressure. That makes them the sixth-worst team in the NFL in that category.
Here’s something else. Despite the fact that Philly applied pressure 39.9 percent of the time, which was second only to the Los Angeles Rams, they only blitzed on 20.1 percent of their defensive snaps, good for lowest in the NFL. Somewhere, Jim Johnson and Buddy Ryan are turning over in their graves.
We all know Jim Schwartz’s scheme relies on getting pressure from the front four and playing coverage behind that, but maybe sending an extra guy or two every now and again wouldn’t be a bad idea. Think about it. They might not have won the Super Bowl had they not switched things up and put Brandon Graham at that defensive tackle spot.