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Jim Schwartz says this week’s Eagles preseason game will go a long way in deciding two position battles

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Plus, the DC talks about the new tackling rule.

The Eagles’ are just a couple days away from their Week 3 preseason game against the Browns, and while this is a good opportunity for some of the starters to get back onto the field, there are still quite a few team veterans who will stay on the sideline.

Before Monday’s practice got underway, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to the media about some of the position rotations and adjustments they’re making to their tackling technique.

Here’s what Schwartz had to say:

On position battles

  • Schwartz rotated Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox in the slot role during last week’s preseason game, and the DC said it’s just like other positions, and it’s still a work in progress. No starting spots have been settled up to this point, but this Week 3 game against the Browns will go a long way in setting the starting lineup for the regular season opener.
  • Schwartz also said Thursday night’s game will be important for determining Philadelphia’s linebacker configuration. The battle for weakside linebacker is still open between Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill, and Corey Nelson. Schwartz noted the team is also trying to figure out their best options for Week 1 when Nigel Bradham will sit out due to suspension.

On specific players

  • The defensive coordinator is happy to see Brandon Graham back on the field, but admitted “there’s steps he gotta take along the way” and that he isn’t back 100%. Schwartz also noted that Graham has been around the facility all offseason and has been involved in meetings, so it’s not like they were without his leadership during his injury.
  • He was also asked about Ronald Darby specifically, and Schwartz mentioned that coaches and players are all seeing his increased confidence this offseason, and that now he needs to work on turnings some of those PBUs into interceptions.

On new tackling rules

  • The DC was asked a lot about the new tackle rules and how they are adjusting throughout the preseason. Schwartz noted that they are actually having a meeting on Monday afternoon to look at the fouls across the league — not just the Eagles’ fouls — to asses why flags are thrown
  • He did say that the Eagles’ defenders are guys who try to play within the rules, they aren’t head hunting or trying to get around some of these new limits. They’re having to adjust how they tackle, but are just trying to take their heads out of it — and that’s not always going to be a possibility, but the players are shifting their mentality.
  • Schwartz mentioned the biggest challenge is guys trying to play fast, and having to adjust their techniques while also being quick.