The Eagles’ loss to the Saints was so bad that there are things that need evaluated in all phases of offense and defense, and coordinators Mike Groh and Jim Schwartz talked about some of those failures and the causes on Tuesday. The overarching theme from both coaches was that it’s not just one player or one area of concern, it’s something the team as a whole needs to evaluate and improve.
Here’s what the coordinators had to say:
The OC was asked what bothered him most about the loss, and he said he wished there was only one thing to pinpoint.
He was asked about miscommunication about the personnel on the field – noting the play with only 10 players and the one with Jordan Matthews yelling for Nelson Agholor to come off the field – and Groh took responsibility for that. He did sort of lean on having a new guy (Golden Tate) with some new personnel packages that they are trying to incorporate, but that it was ultimately his responsibility to fix those issues.
Groh used the word “challenging” to describe trying to integrate Tate into the offense, but with them not being able to stay on the field long or find any kind of rhythm on offense affected it too. He said if they can do a better job of extending drives, more guys will get more involved in the offense.
He didn’t put pressure on Carson Wentz, and noted that the QB puts a lot of this on his shoulders anyway, but that they just need to work together to improve.
Later he was asked about Pederson saying they need to get Agholor more involved, but that he’s lined up for a majority of snaps. Groh noted that as personnel has changed, so have roles, but he’s trying to find a rhythm with substitutions and getting guys in the right spots – something they haven’t been good at the past few weeks.
He was also asked to clarify what he meant by new roles for Agholor with Tate now in the mix, and Groh said that sometimes when Tate is in, Agholor is asked to do different things, but sometimes is asked to play the same role as last year.
Groh talked about Josh Adams and said the way to get him more involved is to stay on the field longer, and if they stay on the field they’re able to call more than 12 runs – but that they are happy with his production for them so far this season.
Schwartz was asked about reports that Sean Payton had planned on targeting Sidney Jones on Sunday, and the defensive coordinator said that happens with every team, every week when game planning but it’s not often talked about because media members aren’t typically embedded with coaching staffs.
He was then asked what the most disappointing thing about the loss, and without hesitation, called out the run game. Schwartz noted that heading into the matchup they knew that creating turnovers or getting sacks would be challenging, but that they schemed to be strong against the run, and they weren’t for the second week in a row.
The DC said that when analyzing the run game, you have to talk about all three levels. There were some caused by defensive line technique, some you can attribute to linebacker technique and missed tackles, and they had one where the guys on the field didn’t communicate and let the Saints essentially walk into the end zone. He lamented that sometimes you’re going to have missed tackles, but they should never have issues with miscommunication where guys are walking into the end zone.
He also said that with Jordan Hicks now week-to-week that we’ll likely see Nigel Bradham back in a role similar to that of last season. If Hicks can’t go this weekend, Schwartz said there’s a few guys they would utilize, including Nate Gerry as a guy that they trust, and Kamu.
Schwartz – who spent a lot of the offseason touting Bradham and his importance to this defense – was asked how Bradham has been playing this year, and he said like they’re 4-6. Something he’s used as a measuring stick throughout the season.
The DC didn’t make any excuses for the injuries throughout the secondary and said those things aren’t used as excuses for their poor play. Sure, the offseason can help with some of the communication issues, but it’s their job to put together the best plan for the players they have available.
He was asked if they have to adapt to the new style of offense that seems to be trending throughout the league, but Schwartz said not entirely because each game is different and you have to plan for each team they’re set to face.
Schwartz also talked a lot about the pass rush and how he was forced to play a lot of 3-man rush – which he said he’d rather eat more vegetables than have to call. He also said they played more man coverage than he has with the Eagles but that zone wasn’t a viable option against a quarterback like Drew Brees.