By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When the Eagles hired Jim Schwartz in January, the fan base fell in love.
A tenacious, aggressive defensive coordinator who would hold players accountable. And after the Eagles’ 3-0 September start fueled by dominant defensive efforts, Schwartz was saying all of the right things.
Fast forward to Week 15 — the Eagles have lost four straight games and eight of their last 10 games, falling to 5-8. Schwartz’s unit has gone from one of the league’s best to middle of the pack, allowing 26 or more points in four straight games.
Eagles veteran defensive end and leader Brandon Graham is not blaming his coach.
Listen: Brandon Graham on the 94WIP Morning Show
“He’s a good guy,” Graham said of Schwartz on Wednesday’s 94WIP Morning Show. “He’s somebody who takes football very seriously. He does his work. He’s definitely a guy that I would love to be back because I know he knows the game. He put us in good situations, it’s just sometimes we gotta make a play sometimes. Overall, everybody respects him because he’s honest. With an honest defensive coordinator that gives it to you straight, I mean you can’t do nothing but win eventually with a guy like that.”
After tallying 10.0 sacks in their first three games, the Eagles have just 18.0 over their last 10 contests. The secondary has struggled as well, as the Eagles are allowing 7.7 yards per attempt to opposing teams, 28th in the NFL. Philly is 20th in allowing third-down conversions, as teams are converting 39.4-percent of their third-down plays against the Birds.
“He’s not afraid to call someone out because sometimes calling people out is what people need, sometimes,” Graham said of Schwartz. “You gotta hold people accountable because we all got one goal and that’s to go out and win the NFC East, make the playoffs, and obviously win the Super Bowl. And that’s our goal. And when you see people kind of stray away or little mistakes kind of creeping, we just can’t do that. In certain moments, you do need that speech so that you can focus in on the next time so that you won’t get cursed out by the coach and stuff like that.
“So, I think that’s the thing I really love about Schwartz — how serious he is about the game and how he holds players accountable, because that’s what you need. We all grown men, we all professionals, and we all got a job to do.”