Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to reporters for the first time since the loss to the Giants on Sunday — and the 2nd time now that they’ve allowed Daniel Jones to break free for a long run. Schwartz talked about allowing back-to-back touchdowns, the lack of turnovers, and how they’re preparing for Cleveland’s run game.
Here’s what the defensive coordinator had to say:
On letting Daniel Jones run
Schwartz admitted the defense broke down on the run for a touchdown by Jones, but wouldn’t assign individual blame. The 80-yard run a few weeks ago was due to them running out of a formation they hadn’t seen before, but that’s what made the touchdown run even more embarrassing on Sunday.
“It was embarrassing in this game because they ran out of the exact same formation, and we fit it wrong. And, the guy that’s supposed to be there for the quarterback wasn’t there, nobody else got off any blocks, and he made us pay with a touchdown.
The other one that got called back with a penalty, the hold affected that play and then also caused us — well, we had a chance to get him in the backfield, and it was more of a physical play on that one, that got called back.”
Schwartz noted that there were a lot of those plays that the guys executed very well, but particularly early in the game and on that first drive, they weren’t up to the challenge and it cost them. He said bluntly that the way they started the game had a lot to do with the end result.
On allowing back-to-back TDs early on
The DC talked about how particularly in the first series, they couldn’t get to third down. He explained that they got the sack on the first play, but then in a 2nd-and-long situation, the played cover 2 and let a ball get ripped right past them for a first down. Those little mistakes added up throughout the drive because they couldn’t get to 3rd-and-long situations.
Schwartz did note that he understands why his guys jumped on 3rd down and 13, because the center moved the ball and went back on his heels — the refs didn’t see it — but that put the Giants’ offense at 3rd-and-3 and in a much better situation for a quick shuttle pass for 4 yards and another first down. But, those are the type of little things that ended up making a big different.
On the lack of turnovers
“Well, I’d say this: almost no turnovers are scheme-related. It’s not like you do something scheme-wise that causes a forced fumble or things like that. It really just comes from continual pressure. There are some plays that are close. I think if you go back and look at some of this stuff, we had about ten plays that we were like on the ball in the pocket, like a defensive lineman was making contact with the ball. One of those, Brandon Graham made and the ball threw incomplete on the third down right at midfield near the end of the first half.
Those are the plays that cause turnovers. You’re not going to make those all the time but the continual big hits on the running back, we didn’t have enough of those. We didn’t have second-level guys coming in and wiping out piles and causing those kind of things. The continual pressure on the quarterback, where he steps — he has to step back and lets a ball like hang up a little bit. There were a lot of balls that we had — we were close to getting a hand on or a tip. Close doesn’t count in this league. It’s a win or a loss and we lost the game. It’s that continual pressure.”
On the 3rd quarter sequence
Schwartz was asked about the Giants’ offensive drive following the Boston Scott touchdown, when Jones threw a 27-yard pass to Sterling Shephard followed by a 38-yard pass to Golden Tate. The DC agreed that it was a really important sequence, and noted that they had gone to more man-to-man because they were inches away from making plays on some of the throws into tight windows. When they went man-to-man, it left them vulnerable to some passes down the field.
On preparing for the Browns run game
“It’s our biggest challenge of the season in the run game. And how well we stop the run is going to go a long way to how well we play in this game. They are an outstanding run team. Probably the best two running backs we face this year. Not just the best two on the team, but the best two overall. Great balance. Great power. They know what they want to do in the run game. Nothing sort of takes them out of it. There’s not a whole lot you can do scheme-wise that forces them to do something else. They are going to run it. It doesn’t matter what your look is and they are going to take that attitude of if you have an unblocked guy, the running back is going to try to run over them.
It’s going to take everybody, it’s not just the defensive linemen, it’s not just the linebackers; our corners are going to have to have an outstanding game defending the run. There’s some carryover to like San Francisco. There are some similarities in what the run game is. We have to do a good job on stopping that zone stretch and taking their power run games. They are a good contact-running team and like I said both of those guys, [Kareem] Hunt and [Nick] Chubb are both outstanding running backs and it’s going to be our biggest challenge of the year and we need to be up to that challenge.”
- Schwartz didn’t agree that the Giants’ run game took advantage of the Eagles’ defense in the first half, with the DC pointing out they averaged just 3.2 yards a carry. Aside from Daniel Jones’ 30 yard run early on, the rest of his rushing yards were off scrambles which he counts as part of the passing game, not the ground game.
- When asked about losing contested catches this season, Schwartz didn’t agree that it was due to the height of the secondary. He explained that all the shorter guys have outstanding leaping ability and have all made plays on contested throws down field. But, he did agree that they need to stop more of those receptions.
- Schwartz noted that the plan was for Will Parks to play a little bit more than he did on Sunday, but with the Giants’ no-huddle stuff and the amount of 12-personnel, they didn’t get to run a lot of the packages Parks was in.