Are there ever times when Philadelphia Eagles fans aren’t discussing Schwartz?
Whether you like him or not and whether you disagree with what people are saying or not, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz remains one of the most talked-about subjects in break rooms, on podcasts, and on social media for Birds fans and members of the media.
Throw his name right on the list with Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz, and Jalen Hurts as he’s one of the guys that we can’t stop discussing, and depending on who you talk to, just like those other hot topics, the analysis of Schwartz may vary based on who you’re speaking with.
For some, Super Bowl LII was the beginning of Schwartz’s unraveling. Others have never trusted him. For others still, regardless of what they’ve seen or believed to this point, the 2020 regular season has been the final straw. Why did Nathan Gerry play so much? Why is his unit so inconsistent? Why can’t the young guys get coached up and on the field?
Yes, there are a ton of fans who are at their wits end with the general, but it never feels like his job is in any danger. He’s always been a good listen though, and on the Tuesday leading up to Week 15’s game, Coach Schwartz spoke with the media. As you might imagine, there were a few highlights.
Here are three statements that Philadelphia Eagles fans must hear.
One of the biggest disappointments of 2020’s season was the performance of recently-acquired defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. He hasn’t had much of an impact, until recently. Now, he’s become quite the weapon. During Coach Schwartz’s Week 15 presser, the first question asked was about the man Philly gave a three-year, $39 million deal to on March 21st.
Here’s what he had to say:
"I think what you see is just steady progress from him. You can’t always judge a guy, and we’ve said this a long time, you can’t always judge a guy just on sack numbers. There’s a lot of other things that go into it, freeing up other people, sometimes you have a great rush, and somebody else will make a sack and sometimes you make a great rush and the ball comes out so fast that you really can’t affect it but you have to keep making steady progress… He’s getting more and more comfortable in the scheme. We knew it was going to be a little bit of an adjustment period. It took a minute or so for him to get with all the intricacies and techniques that we play, but he does make an impact on the game and I think we’re seeing the reason we liked him so much and the reason we added him to our team."
He also discussed what it means to lose Rodney McLeod, one of the team captains on defense:
"I would say this about Rodney. Number one, he’s proved that he can comeback from an injury like this, and it’s such a gut punch when a respected player like Rodney, who is a very productive leader for us (and) has had a really outstanding year when you lose him for the game. But, you also find out that you lose him for the season, everybody feels that. (It) increases the urgency for the guys that have to replace him. They have to step up to be able to fill those gaps, not just on a one-game basis but for a rest-of-the-week basis."
One of the concerns about the Philadelphia Eagles defense, again, is inconsistency. At times, they’ve made quarterbacks look like better passers than they are. More often than that, they make receivers look like they’d be first-ballot Hall of Famers if they played the Eagles defense every week.
In Week 15, the Eagles get the full gamut. They face a quarterback that can run and pass (Kyler Murray). They’ll see dangerous wide receivers (DeAndre Hopkins). They’ll even see someone who will be in the Hall of Fame one day, someone who has given the Eagles fits every time they’ve seen him (Larry Fitzgerald).
How does Murray compare to other mobile quarterbacks that the Eagles have seen this season like Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson? Is he similar to Jalen Hurts? How will Philly defend Murray? Coach Schwartz touched on that as well.
"I don’t like to compare one player to another that way. I’d say that guys like Kyler Murray (and) guys like Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, we’ve faced a lot of guys that had similar skill sets, but all of them were unique. All of them had a different way that they ran the ball. All of them had a different skill set passing. Whether they were throwing quick passes, whether they were scrambling to buy time to make big plays down the field. Every player stands on his own in the NFL. What we’re going to try to do against Kyler Murray will be specific for his skillset… Our decisions on this week will be independent of anything we’ve seen from anybody else."
It’s crunch time, and with a young signal-caller wearing the Philadelphia Eagles’ colors in Week 15, Philly will have to rely heavily on their defense. Well have to wait and see what happens, but this game gets more interesting every time that you think of it.