Jim Schwartz

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

A blunt assessment from Jim Schwartz on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

Cornerbacks always talk about how crucial it is to put bad plays behind them.

Gotta be confident. Gotta have a short memory. Gotta forget about it when you get beat.

Every cornerback gets beat. The great ones bounce back quickly.

Fair to say Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones didn’t bounce back quickly Sunday.

I asked Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz Tuesday how Douglas and Jones have handled having a short memory and putting bad plays behind them, and his answer was surprisingly blunt.

Inconsistently,” he said. “There have been times that they have, but you know like a 3-3 team, we’re all striving for consistency and I think that those guys are striving for that.

Douglas has played fairly well much of the season, although he’s been inconsistent. Jones has struggled both on the field and to stay on the field.

On Sunday, both struggled through their lowest moments. Kirk Cousins victimized both young corners to the tune of four touchdowns and 333 yards in the Vikings’ 38-20 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This was the first time Schwartz has spoken this bluntly about Douglas and Jones and their confidence issues.

I don’t know that any of those were lack of confidence or [not] putting a play behind them, but whether it was a penalty, whether it was a physical error or a technique error or a communication error, another bad play ended up rolling up on them and that’s the life they live,” he said. “There were a lot of technique errors, there are a lot of miscommunications in every game with D-linemen and linebackers and everything else, whether you win the game like we did against the Jets or you lose a tough game like we did against the Vikings.

But generally those don’t get the attention that the cornerback position takes, and that’s part of the job description. That scrutiny. Kickers. Quarterbacks. Head coaches. It’s just what we deal with, and corners need to be able to put bad plays behind them, and we’ve been inconsistent doing that.

Jones is only 23 and Douglas is 24, and both come from big-time college programs and were high draft picks in 2017 — Jones in the second round and Douglas in the third. 

The Eagles clearly are hopeful both can go on to become high-level long-term starters.

But Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby could both be back for the Cowboys game on Sunday or, if not, soon after.

We all know both of them have allowed their fair share of big plays, but they’ve also started for a Super Bowl championship team, and nobody has ever questioned their confidence. They’ve both shown a knack for bouncing back.

Who’s going to wind up starting when everybody’s healthy? 

Too early to answer that. But if you’re a coach and you have two cornerbacks who have confidence issues and two who don’t? Who would you play?

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Hey, Jim Schwartz, why was Zach Brown released?

Hey, Jim Schwartz, why was Zach Brown released?

A day after the Eagles released starting linebacker Zach Brown, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wasn’t all that interested in explaining why. 

“Well, that’s probably more of a question for Doug (Pederson) and Howie (Roseman),” Schwartz said on Tuesday afternoon. “I will say this: We need more production from our linebacker position in general.”

Schwartz also mentioned that Kamu Grugier-Hill has been getting healthier coming back from his MCL sprain and it seems like he’s ready to take back his more significant role in the defense. A starting three of Nigel Bradham, Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry is probably what we’re looking at going forward, depending on the severity of Bradham’s ankle injury. During training camp, Bradham and Grugier-Hill were the Eagles’ linebackers in their nickel package. 

Still, it certainly seems unusual that the Eagles cut Brown a day after he played 58 defensive snaps (82 percent) against the Vikings. Brown, 29, started every game for the Eagles through six weeks. 

So was there something specific that happened to lead to Brown’s release? 

“I’ll just leave that to those guys,” Schwartz said. “They can address those roster decisions.” 

Of course, Brown did trash talk about Kirk Cousins heading into last weekend and then Cousins threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles. Perhaps that had something to do with his release, but that’s just speculation at this point. Pederson’s next press conference is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Schwartz was also asked specifically about a role for rookie T.J. Edwards, who has played just 12 defensive snaps all season. Schwartz said the release of Brown could “maybe” mean more of a role for the rookie from Wisconsin. 

“All that kid has done when we put him in the game is made the plays that have come to him,” Schwartz said. “He’s been physical, he’s been a sure tackler and he’s been assignment-sound. Those are all three good things to be said about a linebacker.”

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Fletcher Cox still making an impact despite lack of stats

Fletcher Cox still making an impact despite lack of stats

Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox may not have a sack through five games, but opposing quarterbacks probably shouldn’t get too comfortable in the pocket.

“I know my time is coming,” Cox said Wednesday.

Cox is coming off his most impactful game of the season by far with five tackles against the Jets, two of those behind the line of scrimmage. And while the four-time Pro Bowler somehow wasn’t part of the Eagles’ sack parade on Sunday, coaches and teammates credited him with creating quite a few plays that didn’t show up on the stat sheet.

“(Rodney McLeod’s) interception was all Fletch,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. “(Josh Sweat’s) sack was Fletch disrupted the quarterback, stepped up, and Josh came off his block and was able to make the sack.

“I know when I look at the film, Fletch got me one,” Brandon Graham said. “I owe him on that one.”

Unfortunately for Cox, sacks are not transferrable.

“I wish he could sell me one,” said Cox. “Are they selling sacks right now? I’d like to buy a couple for real.”

Cox is coming off a career year in which he recorded 10.5 sacks, but underwent offseason foot surgery and missed all of the Eagles’ offseason workouts, training camp and preseason. Not surprisingly, his 2019 got off to a slow start, and not merely in terms of sacks. He has just two quarterback hits, while the tackles for loss on Sunday were his first.

Week 3 against the Lions, Cox didn’t even make it into the box score.

Now, all of a sudden, Cox is looking healthy again — sure, a game against the Jets will do that for a defender, but he says the foot doesn’t bother him anymore and he’s “been feeling good since the short week in Green Bay.”

“I’m perfectly fine, and I think if you turn the tape on right now you see a totally different person in me,” Cox said. “I’m 100 percent, flying around, making a lot of plays that I normally made when I was healthy back last year, and I feel great.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson says Cox is “coming into his own” with the injury finally behind him. No surprise, the defense appears to be coming along with him.

“I'm not a big stats guy,” Schwartz said. “It's about stopping drives. It's about winning games and limiting scoring and things like that.

“There is no stat for team defense. There is no stat for guys doing their job, doing it tough, and doing it physically. Fletch did that in this game.”

And while Cox would love to get into the sack column sooner rather than later, he’ll definitely take more performances like he had against the Jets over his contributions for the first month of the season.

“I’m not a selfish person,” Cox said. “The most important thing right now is to keep this team on the right track, just continue being a leader and just enjoy the wins.”

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