Eagles Defensive Coordinator Denies Personnel Control in Cryptic LB Response

Jim Schwartz

Getty Jim Schwartz is taking a year off from football and won't return to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

There was a report floating around last year saying Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had unchecked power within the organization, including “heavy influence” on the personnel decisions. It mentioned Schwartz being “dogmatic” in the players selected to run his system and cited the choice to sign Zach Brown over Jamie Collins in 2019.

Brown was eventually released due to poor performance and unwanted trash-talking. But the issues at linebacker remain in Philadelphia as evidenced by Nate Gerry being the best guy on a one of the weakest starting linebacker group in the NFL. Gerry has been roasted this year for his play on the field and some questionable tweets from his high school days.

On Tuesday — two days after Gerry gave up the game-sealing touchdown to the Steelers’ Chase Claypool — Schwartz addressed the issue once again. He denied the outside perception that the Eagles haven’t allocated resources to the position while punting a question about how much say he has in personnel decisions. He indicated that roster management lies with GM Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson.

“I’ll leave team building stuff and roster management to Doug and Howie [Roseman], so I really can’t answer your question right there,” Schwartz told reporters. “I’m confident in the guys we have. We’re getting the young guys up to speed. I think our emphasis on 11 guys playing better, not any one position.”

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Nigel Bradham Signing Proved Commitment to LB

Schwartz name-dropped Nigel Bradham as an example of a big-time free agent linebacker the team brought in and committed money to. The Eagles inked Bradham to a five-year, $40 million after the Super Bowl then declined an option on him this past offseason.

“Every position is a priority for us. I mean, every position is important on the field,” Schwartz said on Tuesday. “And I disagree that we haven’t spent resources on it. I mean, you mentioned some of those guys we’ve had. We pay free agent money to guys like Nigel.”

He also reminded everyone about the draft picks the team invested at the linebacker spot, guys like Davion Taylor (third-rounder) and Shaun Bradley (sixth-rounder). Taylor has seen 54 total snaps in 2020, all on special teams. Bradley has 114 total snaps, with 100 of them coming on special teams.

“This year, we put some draft picks in there. We have the guys that we have,” Schwartz said. “We’re going to work hard to put those guys in good position. But I don’t think from anyone’s standpoint it’s not a priority for us.”

Not ‘Household Names’ Leading Eagles Defense

It all goes back to what Schwartz predicted and kind of warned everyone about ahead of training camp when he boldly declared the Eagles didn’t have a ton of “household names” at linebacker. He wasn’t kidding at all.

They went into the season starting Nate Gerry and Duke Riley there. T.J. Edwards played his way into a starting spot before a hamstring injury sent him to injured reserve last week. The Eagles have gotten solid snaps out of Alex Singleton, including a game-clinching interception return for a touchdown versus San Francisco. With all due respect, none of these guys seem like long-term answers.

“I think as far as household names, there’s not a lot of that at that position but we’ve had a lot of guys who have put a lot of time on the grass and in the meeting rooms,” Schwartz told reporters in August. “It’s time for us to see if those guys can play. Whether it’s T.J. Edwards or Nate Gerry … he’s already played a lot of defense for us. We’ve had a couple of draft picks this year, too, or a guy like Duke Riley who we traded for last year. All those guys are in the mix. All those guys we’re excited about.”

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