Jim Schwartz backs Doug Pederson, Darius Slay amid Eagles slump

Slay Adams Eagles
The Eagles defense has been torched by top wide receivers over the last two weeks.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Saying that the Philadelphia Eagles are in trouble is becoming more of an understatement each and every week.

The NFC East division that seemed so easy to take in 2020 is suddenly rounding into form with just four weeks to go.

The New York Giants defeated a heavily-favored Seahawks team that took care of the Eagles just a week earlier, putting together a dominant defensive effort while starting quarterback Daniel Jones was sidelined. Their 17-12 triumph was their fourth-straight victory and they’re now 5-2 over their last seven games.

Washington Football Team found a way to one-up the Giants on Monday night, upsetting the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 for its third-straight win. Over its last six games, Washington is 4-2.

Based on the tiebreaker, the Giants hold the top spot in the division over Washington with a 5-7 record while the Eagles continue to sputter and wheeze their way to the finish line.

Philadelphia has lost four-straight games and is now 1.5 games off the divisional lead with a 3-8-1 record.

So much for that cakewalk to the playoffs everyone was expecting after Week 8.

The quarterback situation has controlled the headlines as Carson Wentz was finally benched during the third quarter of the Eagles’ Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

In his first legitimate chance at running the offense, rookie Jalen Hurts showed plenty of promise to provide a momentary spark, though it wasn’t nearly enough in the 30-16 loss. It’s creating plenty of controversies as Hurts was named the starter, tasked with keeping their suddenly shrinking playoff hopes alive in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints.

But the disappointing season is also starting to result in whispers about head coach Doug Pederson’s job security, considering he is failing to stay afloat in the weakest division in football despite having what was once perceived as a franchise quarterback and a roster filled with Super Bowl-winning experience.

In the throes of disorder, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz voiced his support for Pederson and some other struggling Eagles.

“I think the whole staff has Doug’s back, and we know what he’s going through, and we feel the pressure on ourselves to go do our jobs better to take some of the heat off of him,” he said Tuesday. “And, I think that’s what a good staff does. Doug’s had our back in the past, we have his back, so I think it all works together that way. I think everybody just needs to be more efficient in their job, everybody needs to recognize their part in it.”

Schwartz’s defense has been lit up in recent weeks, especially in the passing game. After DK Metcalf put up 177 yards in Week 12 against top Eagles cornerback Darius Slay, Green Bay’s Davante Adams torched him before the defensive back left with a knee injury on Sunday on his way to 10 catches, 121 yards, and two touchdowns before.

“I was very appreciative of Slay. He wasn’t 100% coming into the game, went out and played,” Schwartz said. “Probably the biggest thing, when he gave up his last completion, I saw him limping on that play and I was trying to get [Michael] Jacquet in there for him, and I was trying to get Slay to go down — and just like, look your hurt, let the officials take you out of the game. But, he’s got so much pride as a player that he didn’t want to do that and then we gave up that completion and then we were able to get him in.

“And then we sort of switched Avonte [Maddox] to shadowing Davonte [Adams] and MJ came in, played tough, made a couple tackles and stuff like that. We were able to sort of execute. We didn’t play our best football at the corner position, we left a lot of plays on the field and stuff like that.”

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