The Morning Call (Sunday)
DC Schwartz will leave after season
Jim Schwartz, the Eagles’ embattled defensive coordinator, will not sign a new contract when his current one expires at the end of this season, a source confirmed Saturday.
The story was first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Schwartz, 54, has been running the Eagles defense since 2016. According to the report, he intends to take 2021 off and mull retirement, though he almost certainly will have many offers to remain in the league, perhaps even as a coordinator.
Schwartz’s unit has been ravaged by injuries this year and bottomed out over the last two weeks in a 37-17 loss at Dallas last Sunday and a 33-26 loss at Arizona on Dec. 20.
Last Sunday’s loss eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention, meaning Schwartz’s last game with the Eagles will be Sunday night’s contest against the Washington Football Team. It also means that last Tuesday’s press conference, in which he refused to assess how the defense performed through the first 15 games, was his last as a team employee.
“It doesn’t do a service to us to start talking about that now,” he said. “We have a division opponent coming in that’s trying to earn a playoff spot on our field and we’ve got to have all of the attention on this game. I’ve got too much respect for the guys that are going to be on the field, some of which are playing for the first time. I’ve got too much respect for the game to talk about anything other than this game, and I apologize for that, but that’s where our focus is.”
Because the Eagles are 4-10-1, Schwartz was not a lock to be coming back anyway. Neither is head coach Doug Pederson or any of his other assistants.
Defensive end Brandon Graham, one of the few players who predated Schwartz’s arrival, was asked about that possibility this week.
“I know things always move around,” he said. “That’s above me. I just know that while he’s here, he’s been a great coach, somebody that I’ve learned from, somebody that always helped us each and every week [and] put us in the right positions.”
Throughout his tenure, the Eagles have traditionally featured one of the top 10 defenses in the NFL. Coming into this season, they had the No. 1-ranked rushing defense (93.4 ypg), No. 2 red-zone defense (49.5%), No. 3 third-down defense (35.4%) and No. 7 scoring defense (20.8 points per game) since he was hired.
Schwartz was given autonomy to run the defense by Pederson, who spoke of their relationship on Friday.
“I’ll tell you, our relationship has evolved tremendously,” Pederson said. “I think we’ve been more on the same page over the years, me just getting to know him each year and understanding him as a coach and a coordinator. Obviously his defenses historically have been top defenses in the National Football League — of course, when guys are healthy and all of that.
“... I think as the season progressed this year, I thought the defense actually was doing some really good things for us and keeping the offense in these football games here down the stretch, creating takeaways and sort of stymieing the run game from our opponents, things of that nature. I think overall it’s been really good.”
Among the Eagles’ assistants, Matt Burke (defensive line) and Marquand Manuel (secondary) have experience as defensive coordinators and could be considered for promotions.