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Eagles outlook: Jim Schwartz performance review

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What’s your confidence level in Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’ve concluded the player section of our Eagles outlook series, we’ve shifted our attention to Philadelphia’s coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is up today. Previously: Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Offensive tackle | Offensive guard | Center | Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Specialists | Special teams coverage and return units | Head coach.

JIM SCHWARTZ

REVIEW

The 2019 Eagles finished 12th overall in defensive DVOA. That’s actually an upgrade from their 15th finish in 2018.

Here’s a look at how Schwartz’s unit finished in some more traditional categories:

DEFENSE

Category Eagles NFL AVG Difference Rank
Category Eagles NFL AVG Difference Rank
Yards / Game 331.7 347.9 -16.2 10th
Yards / Play 5.49 5.48 0.01 17th
Rushing Yards / Game 90.1 112.9 -22.8 3rd
Rushing Yards / Play 4.08 4.32 -0.24 11th
Passing Yards / Game 241.6 235 6.6 19th
Passing Yards / Play 6.77 6.74 0.03 16th
Interception Rate 1.93% 2.30% -0.37% 24th
Sacks / Pass Attempt 7.53% 7.15% 0.38% 12th
First Downs / Game 18.1 20.3 -2.2 5th
3rd Down Pct 34.15% 39.02% -4.87% 4th
4th Down Pct 61.11% 47.90% 13.21% 27th
Red Zone Pct 55.81% 56.64% -0.83% t-14th
Goal to Go% 70.00% 70.98% -0.98% 14th
Points / Game 22.1 22.8 -0.7 15th

I feel like those numbers don’t look as bad as you might expect given some of the criticism that Schwartz gets.

This isn't to suggest the Eagles’ defense wasn’t flawed; it was clearly was and we all know it after watching wide receivers repeatedly have huge games against them.

There were some real bad defensive moments in 2019. Back-to-back struggles against the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys resulted in being outscored by a total of 75 to 30. Then the Eagles couldn’t stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeVante Parker from ultimately putting up 37 points on them in Week 13.

But the defense held their own more often than not. Schwatz’s unit allowed 17 or fewer points in eight of the Eagles’ final 10 games. The Eagles only went 6-4 in those games, which should tell you the offense wasn’t living up to their end of the bargain often enough.

OUTLOOK

Schwartz interviewed for the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching job but he didn’t get it. Doug Pederson confirmed that Schwartz will be back for his fifth straight season as Philly’s defensive coordinator.

Schwartz isn’t a perfect DC but he’s definitely a good one. I mean, the Eagles have allowed the fewest home points in the NFL since he was hired back in 2016. Factor in road games and Schwartz’s defenses have allowed the fifth fewest points in the league.

If the Eagles want to see some defensive improvement, it’s up to Howie Roseman to give Schwartz more resources to work with. Such a strategy has worked in the past:

In addition to the lack of cap spending, the Eagles haven’t used a Day 1 or Day 2 draft pick on a defensive player since the 2017 NFL Draft. Tough to demand a great defense without having the proper tools for one.

The Eagles really need to get the cornerback position right this offseason after struggling to do so in the past. Better coverage will help to fix the Eagles’ pass defense issues and ideally generate more turnovers, which is needed.

If the Eagles make the proper investments and the defense is still only average-ish, well, then the gripes about Schwartz will be more fair. Until then, Eagles fans should be content with him as the team’s defensive coordinator.

Poll

Jim Schwartz: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Stay
    (1682 votes)
  • 11%
    Go
    (210 votes)
1892 votes total Vote Now