Jim Schwartz talks Ronald Darby, Fletcher Cox and more
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz broached several topics when he met with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
Here is some of what he said:
On Ronald Darby…
Schwartz said there were some plays the cornerback would like to have back, but some things he did well, too.
The DC said that he doesn’t believe the ACL recovery is an issue.
“I think he has all of his speed back,” said Schwartz. “He didn't practice a ton in training camp, so I think - and we have a few players that are in that boat. So I think that sometimes you can see some of that, I don't want to call it rust at this point, but there is a reason that we still do training camp and we still practice.
"I like the fact that he gave up a touchdown pass and came back and got an interception. Kept his competitiveness up. I thought that was a good sign from him.”
VIDEO: Jim Schwartz on Ronald Darby
On Fletcher Cox…
Schwartz believes that the defensive tackle isn’t necessarily hampered by the foot injury he rehabbed all summer or the corresponding toe issue that popped up on last week’s injury report, but just playing his way into shape, sort of the way Brandon Graham had to do at the beginning of last year when he returned from offseason foot surgery.
“Didn't practice a ton in training camp, but there's nobody grading on a curve this time of year because you didn't practice in training camp,” said Schwartz. “Like when they put a ball in the air, the officials don't say, ‘Well, this guy's coming back from an injury,’ or, when it comes time to rush the passer, they don't say, ‘Well, we're going to pull a guy out because of that.’ Nobody cares about that stuff. It's a production league. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league. He'll get there.”
Cox led the Eagles in sacks last year with 10.5. He has yet to get one this year.
On the pass rush…
Schwartz doesn’t believe the pass rush is lacking at all, even though the Eagles have just two sacks – one from injured defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, the other from safety Andrew Sendejo.
“This was a chip team that was working, that was trying to protect and a lot of times the ball is coming quick,” said Schwartz. “You can rush well and still not get there. You can't judge everything those guys do on the sacks. You have to just judge it as team defense, like I talked about with giving up a big play. It's never one thing. Actually I thought our guys rushed well, and I thought they were coming hard. Production will come.”
On Sidney Jones…
The cornerback struggled somewhat in the opener, but Schwartz thought he played much better in Atlanta.
"I thought it was a nice bounce back for him,” said the DC. “The thing I was probably most happy with was he really played physical in the run game. Tackled well. That was really good to see from him.”
On the many zero blitzes he dialed up, including on the game-winning throw to Julio Jones…
Schwartz denied that he did any more blitzing against the Falcons than he did against the Redskins a week earlier.
“I don't know that we really blitzed a whole lot more than we did in the first week,” said Schwartz. “It was maybe a little bit more all-out blitz. Just a couple snaps here and there. I thought a couple times, it was pretty well executed, and we were able to get some key stops and get a turnover, but also, we paid the price for it on that last play. I think we make that play - we made a play on a very similar play, earlier in the game at a very similar thing, but they made the play when it counted.”
And on that zero blitz that Jones turned into a 54-yard score?
“They made a good play,” said Schwartz. “I don't know how many times I can say today that it comes with the territory in the NFL, whether it's injuries, whether it's dealing with different situations during the game. But that's part of the risk/reward of blitzing. You want to blitz, you can make some plays, you can sack - but if they do get a guy blocked, there's nobody behind him.
“We took an aggressive approach. Tried to win the game right there. We weren't just going to - I mean it was fourth and three. We could have sat back and said, ‘Okay, let's be safe here. Let's hold them to a field goal.’ I think part of it was knowing that even if we gave up a play right there, we could win the game right there, or go a long way to winning the game.”