The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has struggled to put forth any sort of consistent effort this season, which is just a microcosm of the overwhelming problems that has them sitting at 1-3-1 through five games this season.
Luckily for them, they play in the worst division in football and are only a half-game back of the first-place Dallas Cowboys.
But a difficult schedule paired with a struggling defense doesn’t seem like a recipe for success, which is putting pressure on defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
The man who was one of the architects of the Eagles’ Super Bowl winner has been unable to get this year’s group off the ground. Philadelphia’s unit ranks 24th in points allowed, 16th in total yards given up, 20th in passing yards allowed, and 18th in rushing yards yielded.
Regardless, Schwartz continues to have the confidence of his defense, as shown by veteran defensive end Brandon Graham on Wednesday morning when he appeared on 94WIP Radio.
“Well Jim Schwartz, he’s a smart coordinator,” Graham said. “I really do believe he puts us in a position to get things done. I feel like it’s a collective thing. We all in this thing together. We sometimes don’t be in position as a player, or sometimes he makes a bad call, it’s back and forth. It’s never really perfect, but I do believe that Jim Schwartz is a good coordinator because he’s invested in it and I trust him. And I know that being in this defense for me, and knowing what it looks like when we’re doing it right, Jim is definitely good at putting us in position.”
Yet the Eagles have struggled to keep their opponents off the scoreboard, having not held a single team under 20 points over their first five games.
Their two best efforts came against a shorthanded, decimated San Francisco 49ers team (20 points allowed) and the lowly Cincinnati Bengals, who were trotting out a rookie quarterback in Joe Burrow making his fourth-ever NFL start (23 points allowed).
They were burned for 38 points by the Pittsburgh Steelers, fueled by rookie receiver Chase Claypool’s four touchdowns.
Despite the difficult times and poor efforts, Graham made it clear that Schwartz has kept the lines of communication open at all times while trying to deflect as much of the blame on his own shoulders.
“It happens in front of the defense when we’re all talking, he’s real open about being accountable for himself and on top of figuring out what we want to do and what do we think,” Graham said. “That’s why I feel that he’s a great coordinator because it’s not just about what he does, it’s about how we all can do this thing together and get it right. We’re not that far off when you look at the film. It’s just we got to get off on third down and we can’t make eight penalties on defense.”
Schwartz and Graham have arguably their toughest test of the season on Sunday when they face reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 at Lincoln Financial Field.