Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to the media on Wednesday morning about the difficult roster decisions they have to make at multiple positions, as well as the limited evaluation time they’ve had. He also talked about the opportunity to watch future Hall of Famers (Jason Peters and Fletcher Cox) go against each other in practice everyday on the line.
Here’s what the DC had to say:
Schwartz said that the evaluations this offseason look different, but they’ve still had time to look at guys. They missed the spring, but they were able to evaluate how guys retained the scheme and those things from the virtual offseason.
He explained that throughout a typical offseason program, you get to see the players develop, and then validate that during phase two position drills, and then again with OTAs and minicamp, and again in training camp, then in the first scrimmage, and then in the preseason.
“We’ve had enough practice time, enough individual time, enough technique work and things like that that we have a good evaluation of our guys. Nothing really replaces live game reps.”
The DC told a story about how rookies would always come in overwhelmed and then throughout the offseason would get comfortable, and it would ebb and flow until the season. Schwartz mentioned that the first open practice with 40,000 fans would rattle some of the young guys, or the first preseason game, but it allowed them to get used to that environment before Week 1.
He later talked about how there hasn’t been a lack of learning, it’s just been a lack of experience, but there’s no difference to past seasons in terms of where their installation is and all the things they need to have ready to go. Training camp isn’t just getting ready for Washington, it’s getting ready for things you might need in Week 12, and Schwartz doesn’t feel any different about what they’ve been able to accomplish then he has at the end of previous training camps. Schwartz also noted that the guys have taken advantage of all the extra walk-through time, so they don’t feel short changed.
On Fletcher Cox and Jason Peters
Schwartz was what he’s seen from Cox going up against Jason Peters at right guard this training camp. He noted that one of the joys in camp the past few years has been watching Cox compete with Brandon Brooks — two of the best players in the league at their positions.
Now, he said, they have a guy who had a Hall of Fame career at left tackle and they’re seeing that same kind of thing with Peters. It’s always great when they get to sit back and see two potential Hall of Famers going at it in practice.
Schwartz also noted that on the other side, the competition between Malik Jackson and Isaac Seumalo has “been outstanding.”
To have so many talented players on the offensive line makes it easier to evaluate his players, and going against them makes them better, and hopefully, he said, makes the offense better, too.
On rookie DBs
The coordinator was asked about rookie Grayland Arnold and whether his size (5’10, 187-pounds) has been an issues. Schwartz noted that all those measurables from the draft process don’t matter on the first day of training camp. He noted that the rookies in the secondary are doing a nice job, but he’s said before that it’s one of the tougher position groups to get caught up without practice time on the field.
“We’re going to have some real tough decisions at a lot of positions, but particularly our safety position.”
On Jeremiah Washburn
Schwartz was asked by Bleeding Green Nation about the Eagles’ Director of Player Personnel/Senior Defensive Assistant, Jeremiah Washburn.
“One of the smartest coaches I’ve ever met, one of the smartest people I ever met and just has a great nature about him. Nothing ever phases him, and he’s very even keeled, and he’s really a triple threat. He’s outstanding with the players, he’s outstanding with technique and he’s also got a really keen eye for scouting, and he’s done all those things.”
The DC noted that they did a lot of the same things and followed a similar career path from scout to coach, and he’s been a “great addition” to the staff. He went on to note that having a former offensive line coach, who sort of has the keys to the kingdom as they evaluate schemes, is a great asset.
“I think Jeremiah’s got such an outstanding future. I think that guy can be a GM in the NFL, I think he could be a head coach in the NFL.”