Eagles’ DC Jim Schwartz spoke to reporters on Tuesday morning and talked about how the staff supports head coach Doug Pederson, and explained why he was appreciative of Darius Slay on Sunday. Schwartz also went into detail about what Malcolm Jenkins meant to him and to the team, and why that’s a guy he’ll always root for — expect on Sunday when the Eagles play the Saints.
Here’s what the defensive had to say:
On the pressure on Doug Pederson
“I think the whole staff has Doug’s back, and we know what he’s going through, and we feel the pressure on ourselves to go do our jobs better to take some of the heat off of him. And, I think that’s what a good staff does. Doug’s had our back in the past, we have his back, so I think it all works together that way. I think everybody just needs to be more efficient in their job, everybody needs to recognize their part in it.
Like I said this last game, I thought there were opportunities for us to make, we got back in the game, started making some plays, getting some stops, and had a chance maybe to get the ball back one more time and didn’t do it. We had a good run stopping blitz going and we gave up a 70-yard touchdown run. So, we can do our part better to help out the offense, to help out the head coach, to help out the team.”
On Darius Slay
Schwartz, as he often does, pointed to the team’s loss as an overall metric for how any player played, but then did not his appreciation for the corner.
“I was very appreciative of Slay. He wasn’t 100 percent coming into the game, went out and played. Probably the biggest thing, when he gave up his last completion, I saw him limping on that play and I was trying to get [Michael] Jacquet in there for him, and I was trying to get Slay to go down — and just like, look your hurt, let the officials take you out of the game. But, he’s got so much pride as a player that he didn’t want to do that and then we gave up that completion and then we were able to get him in.
And then we sort of switched Avonte [Maddox] to shadowing Davonte [Adams] and MJ came in, played tough, made a couple tackles and stuff like that. We were able to sort of execute. We didn’t play our best football at the corner position, we left a lot of plays on the field and stuff like that.”
He was later asked about the shift in the defensive scheme to accommodate Slay and his skill set, and Schwartz said that it’s not all about him and that sometimes they give him help and sometimes they don’t. Man-to-man coverage is challenging in the NFL, and he admits that the last two games haven’t been Slay’s best — something the corner would agree with — but Schwartz has every confidence that he’ll get things turned around.
On Malcolm Jenkins
The Eagles are playing the Saints on Sunday, which means they’ll see a familiar face on the opposing sideline. Schwartz was asked what Jenkins meant to him and the Eagles defense for all those years, and how his versatility stood out.
“Versatility was amazing with Malcolm. He played seven different positions in defense here, and he knew all 11 — he knew all 11 like a coach. Was a great set of eyes on the field for me. An incredibly honest player, always did his job. I mean, he was so efficient at doing his job that, like, if he made a mistake, it was like once a year. Other players will make a couple mistakes a game.
Schwartz went on the say that when Jenkins did a make a mistake it was like a news flash that he had a missed assignment, or wasn’t in the right spot.
“He was just that player that always did the right thing. He was really good at weathering any storm, always remained calm. He knew when to turn it up and when to give his fellow teammates confidence.
I’ve thought about a lot over the years of all the great players that I’ve coached and things like that, and Malcolm certainly goes right up there. He’s probably the smartest player that I’ve ever coached, and leadership-wise you take all those players, if he was on that he’d probably be elected team captain.”
The DC said that Jenkins means a lot to him personally and to the team, and even though he isn’t with the Eagles anymore, he roots for him like crazy 15 games a year — but, not on Sunday.
Schwartz recalled a game last year, against Seattle, where Jenkins heard the Seahawks OL talk about one of their formations. The safety went to the sideline and told the DC on the next 3rd down to call a specific play because he knew it would get a sack. Schwartz trusted Jenkins so much, he made the call, they got the sack — all because Jenkins heard something from the offensive line.
- Schwartz said that there are a lot of layers to interceptions, but there was one opportunity the defense had to make a “game-changing play” against Aaron Rodgers and they didn’t capitalize, which was disappointing.
- The DC wouldn’t get into what specifically broke down during the 70-yard touchdown run by the Packers, but said the run stopping blitz is tried and true for them over the past five years and this came down to missed tackles.
- As far as injuries to the linebacker position — notably with TJ Edwards and Davion Taylor injured — Schwartz said it’s something they’re used to, but did talk about how when there are injuries like that in-game, it adds more responsibility to the guys who are also playing special teams.