PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It gets a little scary when the one who’s supposed to know doesn’t know at all. That’s the impression anyone would if they listen get to hear Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz talk about the team’s cornerback situation.
C.J. Smith’s play was broached, as well as veteran corner Patrick Robinson, who has not looked too good as of yet.
Where it’s going and who will step in and solidify those roles appears to be anyone’s guess right now. And for a team expected to win possibly 10 or 11 games and push for a playoff berth, that doesn’t bode well.
When asked what he’s looking for in Smith, an undrafted free agent out of Carson Wentz’s North Dakota State, “Just consistency,” Schwartz said. “He’s still a young player. He has made some plays so far, and we need corners that can make plays. But I think all the guys have made plays. It’s just they need to be consistent. When you play corners, if you make one mistake, it can be a touchdown, it can be a ball over your head. You can spoil three good plays in a row. From that whole group, C.J. included, we need consistency. We’re very encouraged by him. He’s doing a good job.”
As for Robinson, who’s been frustrated himself by his play, saying he’s 25-percent of where he wants to be, Schwartz replied, “Yeah, I mean, the way our defense was yesterday, that might have been a high. That might have been a high number. If you asked me where we were yesterday, it probably would have been a lower percentage than that. We didn’t have a good practice yesterday. I liked the way the guys came out today and competed. It was a lot of red zone work, which shrinks the field a little bit, but it’s also tough to defend. I thought the guys bounced back from yesterday, Patrick included.”
The Eagles don’t appear to have a shut-down corner. How concerning was that to Schwartz?
“We’re four days in, three days in,” Schwartz said. “We said it before. I’d love to have some continuity there. But, we also have to let it play. We have to be able to see who can survive the slings and arrows of training camp. There are going to be some situations that are bad.
“The one thing, that I don’t know that you guys always understand, is sometimes there are periods in practice where you’re sort of handcuffing guys. The offense knows what the call is. The period is nothing but one coverage or something, and it might not look like a guy is particularly doing well, but it’s hard. [I am just going to] say this: it’s hard to judge how it goes in there. When the quarterback throws the ball one time, when he doesn’t, seven-on-seven, if he pumps and then goes. There are a lot of other things that go into it other than that.
“But, we’re sort of the same way as you guys. We’re very interested in the cornerback competition. It’s a daily thing for those guys. We not only need play-makers, but we need consistency.”