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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What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

What keeps Jason Kelce feeling young going into his 10th season

For Jason Kelce, training camp is just as much about bonding with teammates and getting to know the new guys as it is about getting out on the practice field and grinding.

So far this summer, the bonding part has been a lot harder than usual.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand all the parameters that are in place to keep things safe,” Kelce said Tuesday. “But that somewhat comes at the expense of the personal connections and the ability to talk to new guys and to forge relationships. It’s a little bit less so when somebody’s covering half their face with a mask.

You can always leave it to Kelce to put everything perfectly in perspective.

Kelce is beginning his 10th year with the Eagles and said he always feeds off the energy and passion that the younger guys on the team bring to the meeting rooms and practice field.

He makes a great point when he says how the Eagles’ 2019 season really turned around when those young guys were forced to start playing bigger roles. 

They were 5-7 and going nowhere with a largely veteran cast.

“As some of these young guys played, it almost felt like it really rejuvenated the whole team, especially at a point in the season when we were really trending in the wrong direction,” Kelce said. “All of a sudden these young guys come in, Greg Ward, Boston Scott, Miles Sanders turned it on. All these guys were really huge for us down the stretch. You always need balance. You need experience, you need energy, you need intelligence and you need some gusto and it’s really fun to work with these guys.”

Ward, Scott and Sanders were at the heart of the Eagles’ 4-0 finish that turned led to an NFC East title and a playoff berth.

GM Howie Roseman made a concerted effort to get younger this offseason, and despite late additions like Jason Peters and Vinny Curry, the Eagles have gone from the 3rd-oldest team in the NFL as of opening day last year to 11th-youngest today, according to Spotrac.

“Having young guys around really helps, to be honest with you,” Kelce said. “It really engages you. Having a guy who comes in and is playing in the NFL for the first time realizing his life’s ambitions and dreams coming to fruition for the first time, those guys naturally have a lot of energy, and I think that’s where balance in a team comes.”

Kelce turns 33 in November and is the 3rd-oldest player in the roster, behind Jason Peters (38) and DeSean Jackson (33). Only five others have hit 30.

The current 80-man roster has 29 players who are 23 or younger.

It’s all helping keep the three-time all-pro center feeling young as he continues to build on one of the great careers in Eagles history.

Kelce came into the NFL with Jaiquawn Jarrett, Casey Matthews, Fireman Danny and other guys who have long since faded into NFL oblivion.

“I’m really enjoying some of these guys, the new personalities that we have,” he said. “That does a good job of keeping you energized.”

And an energized Jason Kelce is very good news for the Eagles.

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Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Doug Pederson back coaching after clearing COVID-19 protocols

Updated: 1:21 p.m.

Some good news from the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday morning: Doug Pederson is back to work. 

Pederson, 52, had been away from the team facility since early August when he tested positive for COVID-19. He informed his team on the evening of Aug. 2 and had been out since then. In order to return, Pederson had to pass the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. 

“I obviously didn’t want to miss any time if I didn’t have to but I stayed engaged virtually with the team,” Pederson said on Wednesday afternoon. “I was able to watch the practices and stay up on everything that we did and still run the team from my home. I think that’s something that the offseason taught us, taught me, how to do that virtually. But at the same time, I was chomping, I was ready to get back here and be out on the grass with the players.” 

While Pederson ran virtual meetings from his home, assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley took over all in-person head coaching responsibilities while Pederson was quarantined. 

Before Pederson even tested positive, he spoke about the need for the Eagles to have contingency plans for all players and coaches. The Eagles had to use their contingency plan for him pretty early. 

But Pederson noted he was lucky in a way to contract the virus when he did. In fact, the timing worked out great. The Eagles enter the Gradual Ramp Up Period of training camp on Wednesday, which means Pederson will be able to coach the first practice of the summer in person. 

Despite his positive test, Pederson remained confident about a 2020 season. 

“My confidence hasn’t changed at all. I’m extremely optimistic,” Pederson said on Aug. 3. “I feel like we’re going to play. I’m confident that we’re going to play. 

“It’s unfortunate. Like I told my team last night, this virus, it holds no prejudices, right? It doesn’t matter. It can affect any one of us. I’m sure many of you have had family members or loved ones or people you know who have been affected by this virus. That part of it doesn’t matter. It’s just the fact that we’ve got to abide by the protocols that are in place. They’re in place for a reason, our safety. Our building is a great place to be. It is a safe place to be for our players and our coaches and all who are involved. 

“I’m looking forward. It’s full-steam ahead for me. Obviously, I’m itching to get back in the building at some point and be around our players and get these guys ready for a season.”

While there’s no list for coaches, the Eagles have placed three players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Of those three, who were placed on the list in late July, Lane Johnson and Nathan Gerry have been cleared to return to action. Only Jordan Mailata remains on the list. 

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