Eagles

Jim Schwartz explains why he didn’t mind celebration down 14 points

Jim Schwartz explains why he didn’t mind celebration down 14 points

After the Eagles’ defense landed on a fourth-quarter fumble Sunday afternoon, the entire unit ran about 40 yards down the field and posed for the typical big-play flexing photo. 

At the time, they were down 14 points with under 10 minutes to play. 

It rubbed some fans the wrong way. 

I heard a couple players (Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins) on 94WIP Monday say they didn’t really understand the criticism. They were just trying to inject some energy into the team and win the game. To be honest, I see both sides of it. 

So on Tuesday, I asked defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz if he had a problem with celebrating in that situation. This was his answer: 

I’m pretty old school. I’m old school when it comes to celebrations or music at practice. I probably got the biggest ‘get off my lawn’ sign in the whole neighborhood. I grew up in Baltimore. Swag was Johnny Unitas with black high tops and a crew cut. That’s the way I grew up. 

“But I think you also have to set that scene. We had just taken the field after the fourth or fifth turnover, I don’t remember what it was, there were 10 minutes left in the game. I think that’s right around the scene right there. And if we give up a score right there, the game’s pretty much over because it turns into a three-score game and it would probably be inside 8, 9 minutes. And that’s a tough situation to be in. So we had a job to do. We had to go out on the field and get a stop. And not only get a stop, but the ability to get the ball back in that situation. We actually caused two fumbles in a row. And were able to get those and give our offense a chance. 

“It didn’t work out for us, but we ask our guys to go out on the field and play with some passion and play with some excitement. I don’t know what the rulebook is when it comes to stuff like that, but I would certainly … from an old-school guy like me, I didn’t have a problem with that. 

“I mean, we expect them to go out on the field and be excited. I’d much rather have that headline be written about us, or that criticism, be out there about us than, whatever, ‘defense took the field dejected.’ I like the resiliency our guys have shown in those situations. … I like the fact that the guys go out there and play passionate football and have an attitude to get a stop and a never-say-die attitude. I think of those as positives. I don’t think of those as negatives.

That was a well-thought-out answer from Schwartz. And, to tell the truth, it doesn’t really matter to me if guys celebrate when they’re down two scores or not. I see why they would. 

Still, I understand the optics. I understand why fans would be bothered by seeing their disappointing favorite team celebrate in a game it's losing. 

But Schwartz is right. It beats the alternative. At least the defense is playing well and trying everything in its power to come back. If celebrating is a part of that, so be it. 

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Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a pretty ambiguous title.

The Eagles earlier this month hired former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant. But if Doug Pederson is the play-caller, Press Taylor is the passing game coordinator and Jeff Stoutland is the run game coordinator, it begs a pretty obvious question:

What the heck is Scangarello going to do?

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Pederson finally answered that question with at least a little bit more depth than we previously heard.

“He’s going to be able to bridge the gap,” Pederson said Tuesday. “He’s going to be able to bring together the run division and the pass division. With a blend of formations and plays and things that really tie everything together. He’s going to have his hands all over the game plan as well. A lot of communication. A lot of film study. Yeah, he’ll work with the quarterbacks, just like I do. He’ll have a chance to have some input there."

OK, so we don’t exactly know how Scangarello will fill every minute of his work days but we’re starting to get a clearer picture.

Pederson said he and Scangarello bonded over their early backgrounds in the West Coast offense but it’s Scangarello’s close ties to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan that the Eagles found most intriguing. Scangarello worked under Shanahan in both Atlanta and San Francisco and the Eagles are hoping to blend some of those concepts with the offense Pederson is already running.

Namely, the Eagles are hoping this hire really helps Carson Wentz. That’s the No. 1 reason Scangarello was hired.

In addition to the time Scangarello will spend actually coaching the quarterbacks, the idea of QB movement is key. For whatever reason, the Eagles seemed hesitant to move Wentz in and out of the pocket early last season but once they did, he thrived.

That movement, throughout Wentz’s career, has always seemed to get him in a rhythm. And the Eagles are finally ready to lean into that.

“It was important for me,” Pederson said. “I think when I look back at our season and how we kind of finished the season, the thing Carson excelled at was basically those two elements. The play action, the QB movement stuff, the screens were important. And the run game ties into all that.

“This was what was intriguing with Rich, the background, what he’s learned. He studies this game now. You’ll learn when you get to speak to him. This guy has spent a lot of time studying the game. Now helping us, helping our offense. That’s why he was so intriguing to me.”

Despite finding a relatively high level of success with rookie quarterback Drew Lock in Denver, Scangarello lasted just one year as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

After the season, head coach Vic Fangio fired Scangarello and replaced him with Pat Shurmur. There’s plenty of smoke around the idea that Fangio and Scangarello didn’t have the strongest of working relationships.

Check out this exchange I had with Fangio on Tuesday morning:

What were some of Scangarello’s strengths?

“Rich is a good football coach. He knew the system well that he came from, does a good job with quarterbacks. I think Rich has got a bright future.”

What specifically did you like about Scangarello as a coach?

“I think for the first year in there, he did a good job. We played with three quarterbacks, so that has some stress to it. He did a good job of handling that.”

So why didn’t it work?

“That’s a long answer to a short question. I’m not going to get into that.”

See? Plenty of smoke.

Fangio did say on Tuesday that he wanted his offense to be more aggressive in 2020, so perhaps that’s another reason they elected to make a switch.

The word out of Denver is the area where Scangarello struggled was on game day, calling plays. On the flip side, he seemed to excel in preparation and game-planning. The good news for the Eagles is that Pederson is probably never going to give up play-calling responsibilities, so they won’t need Scangarello to do much on game day anyway. They’ll be able to utilize his strengths without worrying about his weaknesses.

Only Pederson really knows the logistics of how this new offensive structure will really work. It’s rare for a team to not have someone with an offensive coordinator title but it’s not unheard of. And the Eagles even thought of deviating from the norm back in 2018 when they promoted Mike Groh.

If this structure doesn’t work in 2020, that failure will belong to Pederson. But if it does work, Scangarello will be a big reason why. 

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How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS — If you were expecting Andy Reid to win his first Super Bowl and turn into a different guy, you don’t know Andy Reid.

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Reid spoke to a huge gathering of reporters at the first big NFL event since his Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

And guess what?

Not much has changed for Big Red.

“I stay in the office, so I’m isolated a little bit that way. There’s not much change there. I’m sure the players, if you talk to them, they’re out there and being recognized as world champs. 

I have gotten a couple free meals. That was nice. But I’m not out there that much to where I’m affected by it too much.”

Gotta love when Andy plays the hits.

Reid said he and his staff enjoyed the Super Bowl for a few days. They had a parade and reveled briefly but then it was back to business as usual. The focus then had to immediately switch to free agency and the draft in what was now a suddenly short offseason.

“Maybe someday when we get a little older and we’re out of the game, you can sit back and go, hey, you know what, we did pretty good there,” Reid said. “But right now, it’s buckling down and making sure we take care of business."

During the Chiefs’ run to the Super Bowl, Reid was very aware of the support he was receiving from Philadelphia, where he spent 14 seasons as head coach. Not everyone was rooting for him but it seemed like a large portion of Philadelphians were happy to see Reid hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

On Tuesday, Reid was asked if he’s heard from folks in Philly since winning the big game.

"Yeah, I’ve talked to all those guys. I’ve stayed close to the organization,” Reid said before scanning the crowd in front of him. “Guys like Les (Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Les Bowen) I’ve stayed close with.”

Les gave a wave.

“There are a couple other guys here that are Philadelphia here,” Reid continued. “I spent 14 years there. I appreciated every bit of it. Jeff Lurie, I appreciated him being at the game and supporting me there, too."

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