Schwartz Refuses to Commit to His Cornerbacks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Jim Schwartz isn't one for hyperbole so it was hardly surprising that the Eagles defensive coordinator failed to commit to his current group of cornerbacks.
Speaking before an open practice at Lincoln Financial Field that drew 36,000 on Sunday, Schwartz was battered with questions about the most obvious hole on Philadelphia's roster.
Asked if he was confident that the starters are on the 90-man roster right now, Schwartz kicked the can down the road a bit.
"That's why we play preseason games and practice," he said.
For now, second-year player Jalen Mills seems to have locked down the left cornerback spot while veteran Patrick Robinson has struggled on the opposite side and his backup, third-round pick Rasul Douglas. has struggled with consistency.
Other young players in the mix on the outside or in the slot like C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes have also been up and down depending on the day.
"All those guys have shown something," Schwartz surmised. "I don't know that anybody is consistent enough where we don't look at anybody else."
Douglas addressed the consistency part of things after practice as well.
"Most definitely that's what Jim is stressing," the West Virginia product told 973espn.com. "He wants you to be the same player every day and that's what we are striving to do as we build this defense."
Schwartz admitted it's far from a finished product.
"I said the same thing coming into camp, or maybe back in OTAs, that it would be nice to have solid guys or solid starters at those positions," the DC said. "But we're still in the middle of a competition. Everybody is striving to be consistent."
The competition should continue throughout the entire preseason which starts Thursday in Green Bay.
"Preseason games I think has a lot to do with it," Schwartz said. "There are a lot of times you go into preseason games and you're there to evaluate players."
And that means putting players in a position to succeed or fail for those evaluation purposes instead of game planning for a specific offense.
"We had a couple times last year where we played man-to-man just about every snap just to see those guys," Schwartz said. "You call a preseason game a lot different than you call a regular-season game because you want to see players compete, you want to see players win."
And if the players currently on the roster can't win enough the Eagles will ultimately look elsewhere.
"We're still a work in progress [at cornerback]," Schwartz admitted.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen