Doug Pederson on Tuesday afternoon confirmed all three of his coordinators will be retained this offseason.
That means defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Mike Groh and special teams coordinator Dave Fipp will return for the 2019 season.
“Yeah, my three coordinators will be back,” Pederson said.
Let’s take a look at each guy individually:
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz
Even though injuries devastated the secondary, Schwartz’s unit finished the season as the NFL’s 12th-best defense, giving up 21.8 points per game in the regular season. They gave up an average of 17.5 in their two playoff games. He’ll be back for his fourth season as defensive coordinator in 2019.
Plenty of folks hated how little Schwartz blitzed this year, but it’s hard to blame him when guys who haven’t been on the roster all season are starting in the secondary. Only Malcolm Jenkins remained as a starting DB from the beginning of the year. Schwartz felt like he needed to give his inexperienced defensive backs as much help as they could get, which meant not sending blitzes. And that’s really been the foundation of his defense. He wants his front four to generate most of the pressure. At times is he too passive when that doesn’t happen? Yeah, probably. But the defense played fairly well all season. Those who want to pin the loss to the Saints on the defense, are misguided. They gave up just 20 points on the road to Drew Brees in the Superdome. That’s pretty good.
The one are where Schwartz’s unit really struggled was on 3rd- and 4th-and-long situations. They Eagles gave up 19 first downs on those situations this season. That was the second-most in the NFL.
It would make sense if Schwartz would like to one day return to a head-coaching post, but there aren’t a lot of NFL teams in a hurry to hire defensive coaches to run their teams. Most NFL owners are looking for innovative offensive minds, who are masters at the quarterback position. Maybe that will change, but until it does, Schwartz’s options will be limited.
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh
For a long time this season, it looked like Groh was a prime candidate to be a scapegoat for the offense’s struggles and the struggles of the team as a whole. It didn’t help in the public perception that he regularly didn’t inspire much confidence in his weekly news conferences. For much of the season, he was compared against former OC Frank Reich, whose legend grew much more after he left Philadelphia and became a successful head coach in Indianapolis.
The Eagles’ offense looked stale and inconsistent early this season, but it was hard to figure out just how much to put on Groh. After all, he was an offensive coordinator under a head coach who runs the offense. Really, Pederson probably deserved more of the blame, but he was the constant and Groh was the new face after he was promoted from his post as wide receivers coach.
Luckily for Groh, the offense started to play better toward the end of the season once Nick Foles got into the lineup, even though they scored just 30 points in their two playoff games. Groh will have a second season as offensive coordinator to help try to get the Eagles back to the high-flying offense they were during their Super Bowl year.
Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp
As much as the injuries hurt Schwartz this year, you can argue they hurt Fipp even more. Because for every starter that goes down, a backup gets promoted. And those backups are Fipp’s starters on special teams. So every little injury that happens across the board leads to a juggling act from Fipp.
He’ll be back for his seventh season as special teams coordinator in 2019.
Were the Eagles as dominant on special teams this year as they have been in the past? Probably not. They didn’t seem to have those big plays we’ve seen from them in years past. But they were still pretty good. Jake Elliott had a good season and it looks like they have something in young punter Cameron Johnston. Fipp has consistently kept his unit playing well for the last six years.
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