Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to the media on Tuesday morning about some of the younger players getting snaps on defense, why they feel comfortable with Avonte Maddox in different positions, and a look into why DK Metcalf is such a challenge.
Here’s what the DC had to say:
On Davion Taylor
Schwartz noted that we saw so much of the rookie linebacker on Sunday because the Browns were playing so many big personnel groups, and it was all in an effort to shut down their run game. He wouldn’t talk about Taylor’s game specifically, but said just like other players, he had some good plays and some bad plays.
On Alex Singleton
“He’s always been a good football player. He’s still learning. I’m going to quote Bill Parcels, ‘Let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame just yet.’ And, I say that with a lot of respect for Alex, and he plays tough, and really brings some things to our defense. But, he’s not 100 percent clean in his game and he’d probably be the first person to tell you that, and there’s still things he’s developing through and he’s still working at. But, just knowing him and his character, he’s going to work at it to get it right.”
Schwartz went on to say that most good players don’t get too caught up in their success, but rather continue to look at ways to improve and clean up, and he really likes Singleton’s mentality in that way — makes mistakes, gets them corrected, and moves on.
“He’s definitely earning his wings, so to speak, but he’s still a work in progress and he’s still a guy that needs to grind through and iron some things out. But, I like where he’s trending and I think it’s a nice plus for our defense right now.”
On the long run by Nick Chubb
Schwartz said that Joe Ostman is “one of the most relentless players I have ever been around,” and that people just don’t see it because it’s on the practice field. But, he noted everyone misses tackles, and there were actually four missed tackles on that play. The DC also explained that it’s a big deal to have a lineman make a tackle down field like Ostman came back to do on that same play.
On Avonte Maddox across the secondary
“We have confidence in him no matter where he is on the field. He’s a good, tough football player. He’s had some rough patches this year, but he’s also bounced back and had some really good patches. He’s probably a lot like our defense and really he had about one bad play in that game, the pass interference and his eyes got a little bit bad and had to go chase a play and put himself in a tough position on that play.
But we have a lot of confidence in Avonte. We obviously lost Cre’Von [LeBlanc] late in that game but on the other side of that equation, I thought Nickell Robey [Coleman] had one of his best games of the year for us. We were playing a lot of man-to-man, particularly on third downs, and there were a lot of bunch situations, a lot of pick situations and we really saw Robey’s, his veteran experience out there sorting a lot of that stuff out. I thought he covered really well in this game, and I thought we saw good signs from those guys.”
On covering Seahawks WR DK Metcalf
Schwartz acknowledged that the wide receiver is big, with long arms, but he thinks Darius Slay has done a good job against opponents like that. But, the DC noted it’ll be a challenge, and not just covering him but tackling him, as well, “You have to defend every inch of the field with a guy like that.” He’s only spent one day game planning for him so far, but mentioned that there is a difference with the WR compared to last year.
“I think he’s a much improved player in working with the quarterback, and understanding Russell Wilson’s scrambles, and how to get open versus scrambles. Because it’s not just about running your route — when it does break down and you have a quarterback that can scramble, it’s about being on the same page with him and knowing what spots you want to get to, and he seems to be a much improved player doing that. He’s made a lot of big plays this year doing things like that.”
- The DC said that there is no defense vs. offense issue in the locker room, they’re all just trying to get a win.
- Schwartz talked a bit about players’ instincts and how they evolve, and noted that often what is considered instinctive is really just experience and quick decision making. With experience, the game slows down for players, and they’re able to react without having to think too much about it.
“Instincts can only take you so far in this league. Athletic ability can only take you so far in this league. Everybody’s a supreme athlete, everybody is a good football player, everybody has those things, it’s the little things that separate the guys that end up becoming great players and the ones that sort of mire in mediocrity.”
- Schwartz did touch briefly on the Baker Mayfield non-fumble, and said that he philosophically doesn’t agree with him getting a quick whistle, because with a mobile quarterback they’re a running back in that situation.