The Right Message

Posted: September 23rd, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on The Right Message

Coaches usually have one message for their team and one for the media. If you go back to the coaches bible, Finding the Winning Edge by Bill Walsh, he talks about the need for coaches to publicly protect their players. He preached that the smart thing to do was take the blame for losses and mistakes when talking to the media. Behind closed doors, you held players accountable. That was the time and place for honesty.

Andy Reid lived by this code. How many times did we hear “I’ve got to do a better job of…” from him? He was doing what the master had taught him.

Doug Pederson does the same thing. He just doesn’t do it as well. Andy could really lock in and stay on message. Doug tends to drift as he talks and that undermines what he’s trying to say.

Jim Schwartz had an interesting teleconference on Tuesday.

Schwartz accepted blame for the loss on Sunday. But he didn’t do this in a generic way. He explained that he had a poor gameplan for the Rams.

The Rams like to do a lot of things with motion, movement and tempo. They want to confuse you. Rather than going with a complex scheme that had very specific assignment for players, Schwartz decided to go with something simple.

The problem is that it required players to read and react. The Eagles are at their best attacking. You could see guys watching all the motion and fakes and then hesitating as they figured out what to do. They were caught flat-footed and that’s deadly in the NFL. Give a skill player a half-second advantage and he’s by you.

The Rams jumped out to a 21-3 lead and Schwartz decided to scrap the gameplan. He’s mad at himself for not doing it sooner.

It is fair for some to question if this is coach BS, but I think he’s being legit. That game changed after the Rams got up 21-3. The Eagles still gave up yards and points, but not like the beginning of the game.

  • First 17:45 – 3 possessions – 21 points – 196 yards
  • Last 42:15 – 6 possesions – 16 points – 253 yards

That is a stark difference.

That was an interesting explanation from Schwartz, but he said something beyond that which really resonated with me. He was asked about the problems the defense has had this year. Schwartz pointed out all the areas where the Eagles are usually good, but aren’t right now. He then said that he’s not as worried about those areas as he is “our response to adversity”.

This really got my attention.

Schwartz then talked about how in the past his defense had the ability weather the storm. They would find a way to make a big play or come up with a key sack. Those big plays might kill a scoring drive or even get the ball back for the Eagles. He talked about the defense needing the ability to “square their jaw” and get key stops.

I loved this message.

We can talk about players. We can talk about scheme. This group is good enough and this scheme is good enough to get the job done. They just aren’t making the key plays at key moments. They fail on crucial third downs. They fail on fourth downs. They fail in the Red Zone.

This team needs to play smarter and tougher to make those key stops. This isn’t about the need for a bigger LB or a faster DB. This is about having the mental and emotional toughness to handle the situation in front of you.

Football 101…Do Your Job. Right now not enough guys are doing that. All it takes is one player making a mistake and the whole defense pays the price. Guys need to be more disciplined. They need to be smarter. They need to win their 1-on-1 matchups. Do your job.

The scheme isn’t going to change once your in the season. The Eagles aren’t going to add Reggie White, Seth Joyner or Wes Hopkins in the next few months. Schwartz’s message to his players is that they are good enough to get the job done. Obviously it helps if he gives them a better gameplan than he did on Sunday.

Fans can look to the offseason with dreams of new coaches or new players. There are still 14 games left this year. Schwartz is saying the right things publicly, which makes me think he’s saying the right thing privately as well.

Can he get those players to handle adversity better? We’ll start to see if that message works on Sunday against the Bengals.



Wentz is in a funk right now. Pederson has talked about how Wentz can work his way out of it.

One thing that will help is if Pederson calls better plays. Think about the first two games and how many plays really impressed you. Pederson has been a creative play-caller in the past. It feels like he is counting on Wentz and the skill players to execute right now.

Sean McVay did a great job on Sunday of getting his QB into a rhythm and helping everyone to play at a high level. Great coaching job.

The Eagles offense felt a lot more random than precise. It sure didn’t have a good flow.

Wentz and Pederson both have a hand in getting this thing fixed.


Comments are closed.