Schwartz Takes Accountability
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With his unit coming off its worst performance of the season Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz starting feeling some heat at his weekly press conference.
The veteran coach was asked why he doesn’t speak after games, which is typical fare for coordinators around the NFL these days, with the intimation being that he is not being accountable for his fiefdom, the defensive side of the football.
“I just do what the league requires us to do,” Schwartz said. “I am going to do what is required. I don’t want to take away from Coach Pederson on game day. I’ve been a head coach before. I understand how that goes. There needs to be one voice. That’s important.”
While most would acknowledge that the Eagles defense remains the strength of the team, it has faltered a bit over the past two weeks while playing against dual-threat quarterbacks with the ability to extend plays, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
Schwartz’s D has surrendered 26 points to the Seahawks in Week 11 and Rodgers and the Packers put up 27 points last week but he bristled when one reporter intimated he was trying to avoid his part in those failures.
“You don’t know me well enough to think that I am getting away from accountability,” was Schwartz’s retort. “There is absolutely no question about that. We are all accountable. I take incredible pride in what we do, and I take ultimate responsibility for what we do on defense.”
Perhaps it was Schwartz’s counterpart on offense, Frank Reich, who best explained what went on with Rodgers, who passed for 313 yards as the Packers converted on 10 of their 14 third down opportunities.
“I mean, it's like one thing I said to a buddy of mine, it's like you're playing a basketball game against Steph Curry and he's hitting everything,” Reich said of Rodgers’ performance. “You can have him guard it perfect and he's still knocking down threes everywhere he goes. We faced a guy who was a hot shooter.”
Schwartz, though, wasn’t about to make excuses and took his medicine, admitting he and his units failures against A-Rod.
“We didn't do anything to help our team win,” Schwartz admitted. “You could probably make a case in our other losses that we did something to try to put us in position to win. We always didn't play our best, we might not have played well enough to win but we did something. Particularly this last game, we were poor on third down; we didn't get turnovers; we allowed long drives.
“...When you play an offense that's highly efficient, that's hot, when you have opportunities, you can't make mistakes. We made too many mistakes in that game, and mistakes for the most part came on third down.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen