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Jim Schwartz: “We’ve got a fourth quarter lead, we’ve got to hold on to it”

Schwartz discusses an uneven defensive effort against Washington.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Schwartz talked to reporters Tuesday afternoon about what went right and what went wrong in the Eagles’ loss to Washington:

On the job Jalen Mills did in the slot

Every week it’s a little bit different, a little bit different package for us. Malcolm Jenkins played the slot, has played a lot of slot. Jaylen played slot against Dallas. Some of it has to do with matchups, some of it has to do with managing everything. I thought, to go with Jalen for a second, I thought Malcolm did a good job on their tight ends. In the first game their tight ends, even though Reed didn’t play, they made a bunch of plays in that game. I think their tight ends had two catches and didn’t make a whole lot of plays.

Jalen [Mills] made some good plays, but like our defense, the plays we didn’t make didn’t make up for the plays we did. There were a lot of plays where he played really good, tight coverage, and did a really good job on a really good player in Crowder. He’s going to get some respect for the Pro Bowl voting that’s going on, because he’s really a tough matchup in there. When it came time to make that play, we gave that one up in the fourth quarter. For us, we’ve got a fourth quarter lead, we’ve got to hold on to it. That’s our job. We can’t blame anybody but ourselves for that. Jalen was no different than [Leodis McKelvin] or [Nolan Carroll] like that.

On defending against X-plays, and what he’s seen

I think that was the tale of this game. First of all, we can’t judge ourselves on anything other than winning or losing a game. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen. Stats don’t mean anything, wins or losses mean everything, and we didn’t do enough to win the game. It was good to see us get back to some of the things that help us be successful. Third downs, the only two third down conversions we gave up were 3rd & 1 and 3rd & 2, which were tough. Getting turnovers and getting on the scoreboard there, and getting some pressure on the passer.

But 80-yard touchdown, a touchdown when it’s 2nd & Goal from the 15. And I’ve got to help Nolan out better with that call. It’s 2nd & Goal from the 15, and now we feel we’ve got a good chance to hold them to a field goal there. I played an aggressive defense there, and sometimes when you try to stop everything, you set those guys up. I can play a softer coverage there, give up 5 or 10 yards, and get them to third down. Or maybe even go more aggressive, all-out blitz. I can help him out there.

Run game was the same way. After getting gashed in the run game in the [first Washington game], I thought we did a good job handling the run game, with the exception of a few plays. Unfortunately, you can’t wipe those plays off. And we didn’t play consistently enough, start to finish, to come out on the right side of that.

You had six defensive ends up, and five were involved. Why?

Braman, even though he’s listed as a defensive end, his role is really special teams. But taking five in is still a lot of guys. If the game had gone different, and we played 75 plays, that would’ve been a good thing. We thought Steven Means could give us a boost. We made a commitment to get him some reps. He plays with toughness, made a couple plays in the run game in a limited role. We’re going to try to find every we can to affect that game, we thought he’d give us a boost, he made a couple plays, and it hurt a couple other guys as far as play time, but it is what it is when the game ended up that way.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you planned, but the idea behind it was that we thought Steven could give us a bit of a boost. Going forward, we’ll look at that every week.

On whether Connor Barwin is struggling this season

I wouldn’t even call him struggling. I think he’s gone sort of the way the defense has, and I think both of those go hand in hand. The defense has been struggling, and it’s hard to feel good about your production when we’re not getting any sacks, or we’re not doing a good job on third down. Connor’s been a consistent player for a long time in the NFL. I do think the fresher we keep him, the better chance he has to be productive, and hopefully this can help that.

Are there ways to get Mychal Kendricks more involved?

We’ve ... he’s obviously in our goal line, our short yardage, and our base package, and we have a third down package he’s in. It’s something we don’t use very much, maybe one or two times a game. This last game we didn’t use it at all. But again, it falls a little to the way the offense wants to play. Sometimes you run out of snaps. But it has nothing to do with him. He’s been productive in his role, he’s played good, consistent football for us. I think it’s just sort of the way it’s gone. We’ve also stayed really healthy at linebacker. This game I tried to get [Stephen] Tulloch a series, and he got two snaps. He brings us something, a little bit of energy. Jordan [Hicks] has just been playing at such a high level, we want to get to that.

On what went wrong on the DeSean Jackson touchdown

Was Leodis McKelvin supposed to have help?

That’s a Cover 4 coverage, and so you’re four across the board. Basically the way they ran the route, they ate up all the other guys, and I thought looking at it on the field, we have our pictures and seeing it, [McKelvin] was in good shape early in that route. He was just in bad shape late. That’s a play we talk about all the time, about times you can be aggressive and times you can’t.

Is there a teaching point there for Rodney McLeod?

That’s one of those ones you just get over the top. Again, he was in good position early. DeSean is fast. The way [McLeod] was playing on the back side, he has the vertical of No. 3. If he tries to overlap with [McKelvin], he’s going to give that up.

On how he feels about his pass rush right now

It depends on so many things. It depends on the score, obviously. You’re always going to rush better when you have an opponent who’s trying to catch up in a game. Sometimes, it’s third down, if you can force a quarterback to check the ball down and not be able to hold it long enough, you’ve done your job also. We obviously went through a long time where we were struggling to get sacks. In this game I thought our pressure was more effective. Was it good enough to win the game? No. And there are times, late in that game, the 3rd & 1 play right before the fourth down play we gave up, we did get good pressure. The quarterback threw the ball away. ... Sacks do change the game. We saw that on the other side of the field. There’s such a high incidence of turnover when you sack the quarterback, and that’s why we put such an emphasis on it.

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