The last time we checked in on Schwartz’s approval was back in January. He earned a 76% approval rating after his first 16 games with Philadelphia.
Here’s a look at how the Eagles rank in some key categories through the first four games of the season:
- Opponent points per play: 26th
- Opponent yards per play: 30th
- Sack percentage: 23rd
- Takeaways per game: Tied for 4th
In addition to these stats, Schwartz’s defense ranks 17th in DVOA.
When you look at the big picture, the Eagles’ defense hasn’t been awesome through the first games of the year. The offense has been much better (we’ll get to that in the Doug Pederson approval poll).
In fairness to Schwartz, though, he’s had to deal with a number of key injuries. He was down to the Eagles’ fourth string safety (Chris Maragos) in the Giants game. Ronald Darby got hurt early in Week 1. Fletcher Cox has missed 1.5 games and might miss another (or two).
It’s not like the Eagles’ defense has been downright terrible. They’ve actually only allowed a total of 23 points in the first three quarters of four games this season. The fourth quarter has been much more problematic for Philadelphia. The Birds have allowed a whopping 52 points in the final quarter of their games. That ranks second worst in the NFL.
“Yeah, we've been thinking on that,” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “We were in the exact opposite position last year. Last year, we were struggling a little bit in the first half and second half we were pitching shutouts. I think there's a lot of layers to everything that goes on on the football field. 52 points in any quarter is not -- is too many. Whether it's the first or the fourth. We've got to do a better job of keeping points off the board.”
Part of the reason the Eagles have struggled in the fourth is because their secondary isn’t very strong. When teams are down, they’re going to throw the ball a lot, and the Eagles have weaknesses at corner. It’s not just the opponent’s passing attack that’s plagued them, though. Kareem Hunt broke off a big run in Week 2 thanks in part to poor tackling by Corey Graham. Austin Ekeler (who?) had a big touchdown run against the Eagles in Week 4.
Getting Cox and Darby back (and maybe even Sidney Jones, too?) should help the Eagles’ defense. This unit is far from hopeless. The pass rush looked really good in the first two weeks. If they can get back to that level of play, this defense should improve a lot.
Until it happens, though, there’s room for criticism when it comes to Schwartz.
Are you confident in Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles? Vote now in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments. (Click here if you can’t see the poll.)
Previous Approval Polls:
- January 2017: 76% approval
- December 2016: 54% approval
- September 2016: 99% approval
- May 2016: 93% approval
Do you approve of the job Jim Schwartz is doing?
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