Is Jim Schwartz running out of time

Is Jim Schwartz running out of time?

  • Defense
  • defensive coordinator
  • Eagles
  • Jim Schwartz
By Max Derringer October 15, 2020 0 Comment

The Eagles defense has underwhelmed this season and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’ is starting to feel the heat.

The Philadelphia Eagles hired Jim Schwartz to be the defensive coordinator in 2016. In his first two seasons, he proved to be a wise hire as the defense was among the best in the league.

Since then, however, Jim Schwartz has coached an inconsistent and often ineffective defense. A once elite defense has now regressed to being an average or even below average defense, especially against the pass.

Let’s take an in-depth statistical look at how the defense has performed after their Super Bowl season.

Points and Touchdowns Allowed

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
 Total     Per Game   Rank   Total     Per Game   Rank
Points Allowed 626   19.6 5 ..  . Points Allowed 847 22.9 17
Passing TDs Allowed 49 1.53 17 Passing TDs Allowed 59 1.59 19
Rushing TDs Allowed 17 0.53 4 Rushing TDs Allowed 35 0.95 19
Total TDs Allowed 66  2.06 5 Total TDs Allowed 94 2.54 16

The Eagles defense has maintained similar performance as far as passing touchdowns are concerned, but have regressed to a slightly below average defense in points and touchdowns allowed.

Yards Allowed

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
     Total     Per Game    Rank   Total     Per Game   Rank
Total Yards Allowed 10388   324.6 8 …   Total Yards Allowed 12492 349.8 13
Passing Yards Allowed 7469 233.4 14 Passing Yards Allowed 9378 253.5 25
Rushing Yards Allowed 2919 91.2 3 Rushing Yards Allowed 3564 96.3 5

Jim Schwartz’s defense has remained relatively constant as far total yards and rushing yards allowed, but their passing defense once again shows heavy regression.

Turnovers

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
  Total     Per Game   Rank   Total     Per Game   Rank
Interceptions 57   1.78 3 …   Interceptions 42 1.14 24
Total Takeaways 35 1.09 3   Total Takeaways 23 0.62 28

Perhaps the biggest regression from the Eagles defense has been their inability to generate turnovers, especially interceptions.

Conversion % Allowed

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
  Attempts    Conversion %   Rank   Attempts    Conversion %   Rank
  3rd Down Conversion % 410   36.1% 5 …     3rd Down Conversion % 475   36.2% 5
4th Down Conversion % 36  33.3% 2 4th Down Conversion % 41   58.5% 24
Red Zone Scoring % 89  49.4% 8 Red Zone Scoring % 118   53.4% 7

To Jim Schwartz’s credit, the Eagles have remained consistent in limiting third down conversions and red zone scoring.

First Downs Allowed

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
  Total     Per Game   Rank   Total     Per Game   Rank
Total First Downs Allowed 572   17.9 3 …   Total First Downs Allowed 719 19.4 8
Passing First Downs Allowed 354 11.1 5 Passing First Downs Allowed 480 13.0 22
Rushing First Downs Allowed 151 4.7 3 Rushing First Downs Allowed 176 4.8 2

As with most of the other statistics, Jim Schwartz’s rush defense has been consistent, but pass defense remains a problem.

Penalties

2016-2017 (32 games) Since 2018 (37 games)
  Total     Per Game   Rank   Total     Per Game   Rank
Penalties 200   6.3 9 Penalties 264 7.1 24
Penalty Yards 1754 54.8 9 Penalty Yards 2234 60.4 25

While the numbers may not seem that drastically different; over a 16 game season this difference would result in 14 more penalties and 100 more penalty yards. In a league where every yard matters, the Eagles have lacked discipline, and that generally falls on a coaching staff.

Coverage by Position

Linebackers
Targets     Completions    Yards   Completion %     TDs   INTs   Yards Per Target   Rating
2018 145 107 1037 73.8% 5 2 7.2 99.1
2019 113 81 676 71.7% 1 3 6.0 78.6
2020 36 31 363 86.1% 4 1 10.1 134.1
 

Cornerbacks

Targets Completions Yards Completion % TDs INTs Yards Per Target Rating
2018 372 235 3008 63.2% 14 6 8.1 94.2
2019 320 190 2666 59.4% 20 5 8.3 100.6
2020 106 79 789 74.5% 4 0 7.4 107.8
 

Safeties

Targets Completions Yards Completion % TDs INTs Yards Per Target Rating
2018 120 81 816 67.5% 5 2 6.8 93.6
2019 110 69 805 62.7% 4 3 7.3 85.6
2020 36 22 216 61.1% 2 1 6.0 95.3

Jim Schwartz safeties have been consistent over the past three seasons in coverage, but the cornerbacks have gotten worse each season and the linebackers have been inconsistent from year to year.

The Eagles can’t blame injuries any longer either

While injuries have played a role in the Eagles defensive woes, but Schwartz’s defense has not been effective even when fully healthy.

The biggest issue is the below average pass defense, which is a big problem in a predominantly passing league. The Eagles invested heavily in their defensive line to generate pressure with the thought that it would help the pass coverage.

However, the pass coverage continues to be a disaster and perhaps Jim Schwartz’s scheme is to blame. Schwartz coaches players to fit his scheme rather than coach a scheme that fits his players as evidenced by the recent improvement of former players Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones.

The Eagles are flushing money down the drain by limiting the effectiveness of their highly paid defensive line. Jim Schwartz also has a stubborn attachment to ineffective players such as Marcus Epps, Nathan Gerry and Jalen Mills which continues to hurt the defense.

So Will Jim Schwartz be fired?

If things don’t improve Jim Schwartz should be fired? Granted, the likelihood of the Eagles firing Schwartz during the 2020 season remains low. But the odds increase every week that the Eagles could very well enter the 2021 season with a new defensive coordinator.

Statistical Credit: Pro Football Reference

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