Jim Schwartz leaving Eagles would be a big loss

Jim Schwartz leaving Eagles would be a big loss

We learned on Monday night that the Cleveland Browns requested permission to interview Jim Schwartz for their vacant head coaching position and the news was met in Philly with chuckles. 

Take him, right? 

Not so fast. Because as much as many fans would like to see Schwartz out of town, he wouldn’t be an easy guy to replace. The grass really isn’t always greener. 

Since Schwartz became the Eagles’ defensive coordinator in 2016, and was given near complete autonomy over that side of the ball, check out where the Eagles rank in several key defensive categories: 

Points allowed: 7th 
Total yards allowed: 11th 
Rushing yards allowed: 1st
Opponent 3rd down %: 3rd 
Opponent 1st downs: 2nd 
Takeaways: 9th
Sacks: 12th 

During his time here, the Eagles have played six playoff games and have given up 20 or fewer points in five of them. Even including Super Bowl LII, they have given up an average of just 17.0 points per game in those six. 

And Schwartz is doing this with just two players who have made a Pro Bowl — Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins. To put that in perspective, the Eagles’ offense has had six Pro Bowlers in the last four years. 

To some extent, Schwartz is responsible for some of the lack of talent. The Eagles have continually brought in players with whom he has familiarity. Some have worked and some haven’t. But the Eagles also haven’t done a great job of drafting or providing Schwartz with top-notch talent. Schwartz has schemed defensively with what he has. 

And it’s no surprise that the Eagles are 23rd in the NFL in passing defense under Schwartz after watching the injuries after the last two years. They’ve played with guys like Ryan Lewis and Dexter McDougle. So when you’re screaming for Schwartz to blitz more, just remember that every blitz leaves an inadequate secondary exposed. 

I think the problem many fans have with Schwartz is perception and style of play. 

While the Eagles have the third-best defense in the last four years in third-down percentage, they are 10th when it comes to 3rd-and-10 or longer. And they have given up 44 pass plays of 40+ yards; just four teams have given up more. So this defense is not without its warts. 

But if Schwartz were to leave, there’s not a slam dunk replacement on the current staff. So the Eagles would probably have to go outside the organization to find his replacement and it would be tough to find a better option. 

For the record, I’d be pretty shocked if the Browns hired Schwartz to be their head coach. They’re casting a wide net and my guess is that they end up with someone else. The Eagles should hope they do.

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Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Another week, another starting wide receiver changing teams - and the Eagles still remain on the sidelines.

The Rams traded Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Texans on Thursday for the No. 57 pick in this month's NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Cooks, 26, is headed to his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in 2014, and his third team since 2017.

The Texans' move, of course, comes a little more than three weeks after Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins, a superior wide receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for basically a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman implied in late March that the Eagles were involved in the Hopkins discussions, but couldn't - or didn't want to - match the Cardinals' offer. It was an interesting argument, considering the Birds' absolutely dire need for wide receiver help, but Roseman isn't one to overpay when he draws a line in the sand. 

It's unclear whether the Eagles were in the mix for Cooks, a player who they've been linked to in previous trade talks.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro broke down the pros and cons of a potential Cooks-to-Eagles deal, and concluded that while Roseman should've at least been talking to the Rams about Cooks, trading a second-round pick for a player with concussion history who isn't getting any younger wouldn't be a smart use of capital:

Should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.

The fact that the Texans' Bill O'Brien, not exactly one of football's most revered decision-makers at the moment, traded the No. 57 pick for Cooks tells that Dave was on the money.

Of course, this leaves the Eagles with one fewer way to fix their wide receiver woes. They are clearly eyeing the draft, where a historically deep wide receiver class should net at least one contributor.

Will it be in the first round? Players like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs seem like game-changers, but they might not be available without the Eagles trading up. If they don't, guys like Brandon Aiyuk could be available with the second-round pick Roseman just decided to not trade.

And if they wait past the first wave of top-tier wideout talent, there are plenty of names to watch in the later rounds.

One thing's for certain: things are starting to heat up, and that's normally when Roseman starts making moves.

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Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

“There’s a whole lot left. That’s all I can tell you. You haven’t seen nothing yet," Sidney Jones said Thursday afternoon in an interview. 

Jones is going into his third real season in the NFL. He has gone through injuries. He’s been a healthy scratch.

Howie Roseman said, “It’s time for him to prove it," and Jones agrees.

“Adversity builds character," he said. "I feel like I have weathered the storm. I am ready to show what I can do and prove it."

Jones is working out in Texas with noted defensive backs trainer Ronnie Braxton. They are working on physical and mental techniques. I asked Jones if his confidence has been affected through his ups and downs.

“It probably could have," he said. "I’m not going to lie. But you’ve got to keep pushing through it and that’s where I’m at right now, working with everybody in my circle that’s getting me back right." 

Jones is also working with veteran cornerback Chris Harris, who was just named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Jones wishes Harris would’ve signed with the Eagles, but Harris chose the Chargers in free agency. 

“Just to be around guys like that and to watch him and watch his moves and see how they go about their business, I can just follow him and pick up tips," Jones said.

Jones is thrilled the Eagles traded for his “boy” Darius Slay. Jones says having Slay with the cornerback will help him, and he says the two have a similar body type.

“Veteran leadership," he said. "He’s been around the game and has experience. I think it’s going to be really good for us."

Jones said the Eagles did not say anything to him after they traded for Slay. The word is Jones and Avonte Maddox will compete for the other outside cornerback spot, and Jones is ready to compete. 

“I am ready," he said. "I don’t think anybody is working as hard as me right now”

How motivated is he?

“I can’t even describe," he said. "It’s not even on the radar. It’s 1,000 times above that. I’m excited, man.”

Jones and his fiancée donated $25,000 to The Philly Pledge, following Rodney McLeod’s lead. Jones wants to help people in Philly, and wants to stay in Philly.  

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