We haven’t heard from Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz yet this offseason, but he was back talking to the media to start the second week of OTAs. He talked a bit about the newest additions, which rookie is standing out, and a bit about the secondary — as well as his thoughts on Malcolm Jenkins’ absence.
On the secondary
Schwartz talked about how this is the time of year that they might get some of the older guys experience at multiple positions, but for the younger guys, they want them to get comfortable with just one and compete there. But, once they are looking like they’ll make the roster, versatility is key.
He also was asked about Malcolm Jenkins having yet to report for OTAs, and Schwartz noted that he’s one of their most important leaders but when you look around the NFL, someone not reporting isn’t that unusual. He noted that it’s different for everyone and where they are in their career, and some players benefit from more reps and others from more rest.
“I know this, when the chips are down, you’ll be able to count on Malcolm Jenkins.”
Schwartz later talked about Sidney Jones, and noted that his first year was really just a learning experience and trying to get healthy. And then, last year, he was a starter at the nickel early in the season and then with so many injuries they started to move him around a bit, all while battling his own injuries.
Jones has had both successes and struggles, but that’s life, and they’re moving him around a bit but it’ll be where he fits in during training camp and as they get closer to the season. He also said that Jones has gotten stronger this offseason — as have 53 other guys — but Schwartz noted that corners need to have strength to get down some of the bigger guys they face.
On the new roster additions
He said it’s still a work in progress, and he expects another addition at some time down the line, but he’s excited about the new guys they’ve added.
Specifically, Schwartz said that Vinny Curry doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat from where he was when he last played for the Eagles. And then also getting a guy like Malik Jackson on the inside, someone who has a bit of experience both inside and outside and has flexibility and good length.
The DC also said that getting Timmy Jernigan back, and on the road to being healthy, is another positive. Zach Brown has played a lot of good football and has some flexibility. Andrew Sendejo — who Schwartz called “Dejo” — is good for the backend. But, he’s excited to have all the new additions.
Schwartz said that losing guys like Chris Long and Michael Bennett was business as usual, and change is nothing new and replacing production is a challenge — noting that they’ll miss those guys — but that they’ll deal with it. He also mentioned some of the young additions are stepping into those roles, including draft pick Shareef Miller who he said has been doing some nice things the past couple weeks.
On rookie Shareef Miller specifically, Schwartz noted he’s got some really good length and some good eyes to rush the passer and is around the ball a lot. He did that a lot at Penn State and they’ve already seen that at camp. Miller obviously has areas he needs to improve, but what he does fits with the Eagles defense really well.
On the linebacker position
Paul Worrilow was injured before training camp last season, but Schwartz said that the linebacker has really impressed every single person in the building with his work ethic in the time since. Worrilow has attacked his rehab well and has been a leader in that regard among the long list of injured players last season.
Schwartz also talked about newly acquired L.J. Ford, and noted that he’s a good all-around player even though he hasn’t started a lot, he’s a guy with a lot of experience. Jordan Hicks is another guy they have to replace his production, but they’ve had to do that throughout the past couple of years, so they’re prepared for that.