The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t exactly gotten off to the best start in 2021.
On Sunday night, head coach Doug Pederson embarrassed the team and the city as a whole when he actively tanked to lose the season finale against the Washington Football Team in front of the entire country. Shortly after the debacle, the Eagles lost a valuable member of their coaching staff.
Jim Schwartz, who’s served as the defensive coordinator in Philadelphia for five years, has announced he won’t return to the team in 2021 as he mulls retirement. How will the Eagles go about replacing Schwartz as the head of the defense?
Jim Schwartz never got the credit he deserved in Philadelphia
In the city of Philadelphia, Jim Schwartz carried the label of an underwhelming defensive coach who couldn’t get it done in big spots. But that’s not really true of his tenure with the Eagles.
In five years as the defensive coordinator, Schwartz’s defenses have ranked outside of the top 15 in points allowed just once, and it happened to be this season. The Eagles gave up 26.1 points per game this year, which ranked 20th in the league. Before 2020-21, Schwartz led Philly to ranks of 15th, 12th, fourth, and 12th in the NFL in terms of points allowed.
His success is even more impressive in the postseason. Schwartz coached the Eagles defense in six playoff games during his time in Philadelphia. The Eagles gave up an average of 17 points per game while facing Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Mitchell Trubisky, and Case Keenum in those contests. If you take out the 33 points given up to Brady in the Super Bowl, Schwartz’s defenses allowed just 13.8 points per game in the other five playoff games.
Schwartz consistently kept the Eagles in games when the offense struggled to even get to double digits. He was far from the biggest problem in Philadelphia’s locker room.
Jim Schwartz to take a year off from coaching
General manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson are both expected to stick around for the Eagles in 2021, but Jim Schwartz will not be returning for a sixth season in Philadelphia.
Schwartz has decided he will let his contract expire and take a year off from coaching, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The 54-year-old defensive coordinator will take the time to contemplate retirement.
How can the Eagles replace Jim Schwartz?
After an embarrassing 4-11-1 season, the Eagles have to knock this coming offseason out of the park. That all starts with replacing Jim Schwartz.
Philly could opt to fill the defensive coordinator role from within. Matt Burke, the current defensive line coach and run game coordinator, would be the obvious choice. Burke served as the DC of the Miami Dolphins in 2017 and 2018, and he knows Schwartz’s scheme inside and out. Marquand Manuel, the Eagles defensive backs coach, also has DC experience with the Atlanta Falcons and could be an option for Philadelphia to consider promoting.
In the pool of available outside candidates, Dan Quinn, Matt Patricia, and Lovie Smith stand out the most.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference