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Jim Schwartz says Rasul Douglas and the state of the Eagles’ defense share a connection

Plus, he talked a little bit about the plethora of open head coaching jobs right now.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The coaches were back at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to the media about his defense coming on at the right time, and how this postseason run is similar to last season. He also talked a bit about what they expect from the Bears offense on Sunday and how his players are developing.

Here’s what the DC had to say:

On making the playoffs

Schwartz said that making it to the postseason is obviously the goal, and that they’re in a similar situation from last year, where they’re playing their best football late in the season. He also noted that they’ve had to overcome a lot of injuries which makes them pretty battle-tested at this point.

And then quipped, “I hope that bears out when it comes to the game on Sunday”.

He was also asked about the shutout against Washington, and he said that he would have been just as happy with a one-point victory, but that kind of result was a big deal for the players, especially to cap off the six weeks since they collapsed in New Orleans.

“Not everything is easy in the NFL, and they worked really hard. We’ve had a lot of different guys play in a lot of different positions. I think it’s more a reward for them than us, because as a coach you’re just trying to manage the game and figure the best way to go about it. You’re not sitting there thinking, “Okay, I need to get my third-down percentage to ‘this’ or my points to ‘this’.” You’re just trying to win the game.”

On preparing for the Bears

The DC noted that the Bears run an offense with a lot of different layers to it, and that while they played them last year, the personnel may be the same but the scheme is different, so there isn’t a whole lot of carryover from that matchup.

“There is obviously some Kansas City influence to it and also some Rams influence to it. There is a lot of sort of new-age offense to it, like zone reads and RPOs and using running backs as wide receivers, jet motion, all that different stuff. And some really good playmakers there.”

Schwartz then clarified that the Kansas City influence only goes so far, and that you can’t just say that they are the same type of offenses, because they are different. He talked about how the Bears are unique and they have to treat them as such during preparation.

He went on to talk about Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky and how he’s kind of like a point guard this season, spreading the ball around to a lot of different targets, can extend plays when needed, and is good at executing RPOs.

“He does a really good job of executing what they’re doing in their run game with all their layers of zone reads and RPOs. They run a lot of the different RPOs: three-by-one, two-by-two, slants, slant-flats, stick-outs, hitches, speed-outs. I mean, all of those.”

Later on, the DC talked about how Trubisky is really effective in the run game as well, and is able to tuck the ball and move the chains. Schwartz noted that they are going to have to do a good job keeping the quarterback contained.

Schwartz also talked about running back Tarik Cohen and noted that they use him all over the place, and mentioned that they saw a little bit of that from him last season, but he’s continued to be effective and they’ve found ways to get him the ball.

On creating turnovers

Schwartz talked a bit about the ski mask movement throughout the defense and how it’s something that the players use as motivation. He said anything that promotes that commraderie is a good thing, but gave the credit for the turnovers to them doing their jobs.

“But the turnovers come when you do your job and make the plays that come to you, including sort of the first play of the game. You talk about all the different things, I mean, quarterback scrambled around; guys breaking all the way across the field. [CB] Rasul [Douglas] is right there with him and the quarterback has to make a really long throw on the move. [S] Malcolm [Jenkins] is coming up to force that. He floats the ball, and Rasul is able to go across and make it.”

He talked about those were the result of his players using good technique and being in the right place at the right time.

On the defensive players

Schwartz talked about Haloti Ngata being a bit more productive down the stretch, and that having to do with him being healthier rather than a type of resurgence.

“He went through a span in the middle of the season where he was injured, missed a couple games with that calf muscle. Even when he came back, he wasn’t moving quite the way he can. He battled through that, and I think you’re seeing him get out on the other side of that.”

He noted that Ngata has made some big plays for them over the past few weeks.

Schwartz said it was similar to Timmy Jernigan, who has shown flashes of the player he was before his injury, and they expect him to take on a bit more reps on Sunday.

And, on Rasul Douglas and his development, Schwartz likened it to the defense as a whole:

“He’s certainly been an improved player for us. He had some rough spots early in the year, and he was also helping out in some positions that -- I mean, it was tough throwing him out there at safety because of some of the situations that we had, but he’s come up big at the right time.

I think his journey this year has sort of mimicked the defense as a whole. He’s playing his best football late in the season. He’s overcome some things. He’s put some performances behind him. He’s tackled much better. I think all the things you can say about Rasul you could probably just put the defense right next to him.”

On the many open coaching jobs

Schwartz also talked about why he might not end up getting one of the open head coaching jobs and that his focus is on the postseason run.

Q. It’s that time of year and there are eight head coach openings. Obviously, your attention is focused ahead, but is that something you’re still gunning for to be a head coach again? (Jeff McLane)

JIM SCHWARTZ: I think the way we are right now and having got into – it was a little bit different last year because we had that off-week and there was going to be opportunity before you were done playing.

That’s not the case this year. All of our focus is right ahead on the Bears. Quite honestly, it’s my goal to keep playing. If we do our jobs well enough, maybe any opportunity might not be there. I mean, that’s just the way it goes. But our total focus is on the Bears, and I think we’ve come too far as team over the last six weeks to water that down with anything else.

I’m certainly not.

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