Jim Schwartz has always been honest about his defense. He stands up and calmly discusses what went wrong or right after every game.
Win, lose or draw. The Eagles defensive coordinator’s demeanor never changes. On Wednesday, Schwartz felt it was time to set the record straight about the hardships of playing cornerback in the National Football League.
Defensive backs live on an island, thrust into the spotlight on almost every passing play, and sometimes they get beat. It’s all on tape for the whole world to see — and it’s not always their fault.
“I think one of the big things you see with corners and when you guys talk about consistency, or we talk about consistency, the corners live in a world that if they make a mistake, it’s there for everybody to see,” Schwartz said. “Kickers are the same way. Quarterbacks are the same way.”
Ronald Darby has been one cornerback receiving a great amount of grief this season for his perceived poor performance. Especially against the Giants. Darby appeared to get smoked to start the second quarter when Darius Slayton turned the route inside-out and left the Eagles cornerback in his dust. Darby missed the tackle and Slayton ran for a 35-yard touchdown.
Wait. Check the tape. According to Schwartz, it wasn’t Darby’s fault.
“Darby didn’t start off that game well. But I will say this, that first touchdown is 100 percent on me,” Schwartz said. “It’s not on him. We had a 3rd-and-13, I’m trying to keep him out of field goal range there.”
Darby Was in Right Position to Stop Slayton
Jim Schwartz further elaborated on the Giants’ first touchdown by explaining he made an aggressive call there.
The Eagles’ defense was bringing pressure on the play — they actually had five guys surrounding Eli Manning — but the quarterback got the throw off. Then, Darius Slayton cut it outside and broke a tackle.
“There’s a risk-reward when it comes to being aggressive and trying to keep people out of field goal range and we paid for it with a touchdown there,” Schwartz said. “But I did like the way he [Ronald Darby] bounced back from that first half, when you talk about consistency, it’s not just in your play, but in your mindset.”
Darby was actually in the right spot on the play as he was driving to the “breakpoint of the route,” per Schwartz. In other words, Darby was cheating inside and expected Slayton to catch the ball at the 33-yard line and have his momentum carry him down to the turf.
Obviously, it didn’t exactly work out that way. Was Schwartz making excuses for Darby? Maybe.
“Eli saw him, threw the back hip, he was able to make the catch, and then spin out of that tackle and we paid for the touchdown,” Schwartz said. “But I don’t view that at all on Darby. I view that 100 percent on me.”
Giants Shut Out in Second Half on Monday Night
The bottom line is always the final score, at least that’s Jim Schwartz’s unwritten rule. A win is a win is a win.
The Eagles scored 20 unanswered points after taking a 17-3 deficit into the halftime locker room. In the second half, it was lights out. The Eagles’ defense held the Giants’ offense to just 29 total yards after surrendering 226 yards in the first half. One big reason? You guessed it. Ronald Darby.
The Eagles cornerback helped hold Darius Slayton catch-less in the second half. He had gone off for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. It was an impressive showing not lost on his defensive coordinator. The Eagles wouldn’t have won the game without Darby’s lock-down coverage.
“He went out and made some big plays for us in the second half and we needed it,” Schwartz said. “We lost J-Mill [Jalen Mills] in that game and lost Rasul [Douglas] on a play later. I don’t know that we could have won it if Darby didn’t bounce back in that second half.”
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