Eagles coordinator Jim Schwartz takes blame for defense

NFL Destination Football

PHILADELPHIA (AP)A day after Carson Wentz took the brunt of the criticism for the offense’s collective struggles, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz put the blame on himself for his unit’s troubles.

The Eagles fell to 0-2 for the first time in five years following a 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

”I had a poor game plan,” Schwartz said Tuesday. ”We had a very simple game plan. You guys know that the Rams use a lot of tempos out of their huddle, a lot of different motions. The whole sort of theme was to try to make it as simple as we could. We’ve had success with that in the past. But in an effort to do that, also created a lot of conflict with what the guys were doing. It gave them a lot of stuff to look at.

”What I thought would make it easier didn’t make it easier. It made it harder. Looking back at it, I came right in after the game and watched the tape. I really should have had a more complex game plan. It sounds funny to talk about, but a more complex game plan would have narrowed the focus of each individual player, would have made it more difficult to execute, but it would have narrowed the focus. I think we could have done that.”

Schwartz said he switched up his defensive scheme after the third series. By that time, the Eagles were already down 21-3.

”I take that on myself,” Schwartz said. ”It’s my job to put the players in good positions. Particularly in the first three series, I didn’t do a good enough job of doing that.”

The Eagles allowed 449 total yards, including 191 on the ground. They only sacked Jared Goff once, allowed him to throw to wide-open receivers and didn’t manage a defensive turnover for the second straight game. They got one on a fumbled punt.

”Things that we typically have been very good at over the last four years, we’re not very good at right now,” Schwartz said, citing stopping the run, red zone, third downs, takeaways and points allowed.

”We got to get back to being us. We have a track record of being good over time in those areas. But the area that I’m more on high alert for is our response to adversity. … The area I’d really like to see the most improvement is that ability to set our jaws and go out there regardless of the situation, regardless of anything, go out there and get those things stopped because we’re failing in that regard right now.”

On Monday, coach Doug Pederson criticized Wentz’s performance and didn’t acknowledge that the offensive game plan needs improvement until the 11th question.

Safety Jalen Mills appreciated Schwartz’s willingness to take the blame.

”Lot of respect for Schwartz,” Mills said. ”You don’t see a lot of defensive coordinators saying those types of things. Regardless, us as players, coaches coach, players play, we gotta have his back, too.”

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