Jim Schwartz’s admission that the Eagles’ defensive collapse against the Rams was his fault sure made an impression on his players.
Immediately after the Rams shredded the Eagles for 37 points, 449 yards and 191 rushing yards Sunday, Schwartz took his players off the hook, saying he had a poor game plan and was slow to adjust to what the Rams were doing.
He went public with it on Tuesday during his weekly chat with the media.
“I take 100 percent of that on me,” he said. “It’s my job to put the guys in good positions and I don’t feel I did anywhere near a good enough job doing that.”
The Eagles returned to practice the next day to begin preparations for the Bengals, and Brandon Graham said Schwartz’s accountability did not go unnoticed on the defense.
“Once Wednesday came and once Schwartz took credit for what he did in that game? Man, that just boosted morale,” Graham said. “Because it takes a strong person to be able to say, ‘Hey, I messed up on that.’ And all of us thought we were going to get cussed out because we had a bad game, but for Schwartz to take that, it just made me want to fight for him even more and made the team want to fight for him even more, and to get my mistakes corrected because I know I had some in there, too. But for the head man to do that, it was a great feeling for us (for him) to let us know he’s really down for us just like he said he is, and we're all going to make sure we get it right.”
It’s one thing for a coach to say, “I have to put my players in a better position.”
This was so unusual because Schwartz went into such detail about where he went wrong in the game plan, why he was too slow to adjust and how that had such a significant effect on the outcome of the game.
Players have bad games. Coaches do, too. They just don’t always admit it.
“We just had a bad game,” Graham said. “We not really worried because we have another opportunity. It’s not like that was the last game of the season and we gotta wait till next year. When you go through these week-to-weeks, we try to have more great weeks than bad weeks, and this was just one of the bad ones.”
Accountability is great. Winning is better, and on Sunday afternoon at the Linc we’ll see what impact Schwartz’s honesty had on his group.