Adam Schefter: Fletcher Cox Isn’t Going Anywhere

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz both joined Anthony Gargano on 97.5 the Fanatic on Wednesday to discuss the Eagles.

Schwartz talked about his defensive philosophy and plans at length, while Schefter touched on the Birds’ upcoming offseason and their plans for handling free agency.

Of everything discussed, two points from Schefter stuck out as key holding points for the Eagles going forward.

For one, Schefter said that Fletcher Cox isn’t going anywhere.

“He’s not going anywhere, they’ll never allow him to leave,” Schefter said.

He added that the Eagles and Cox aren’t close to deal yet — “as of about a week ago, that wasn’t close” — and expects it will drag out, but he fully expects the deal to get done.

Also, despite refutations from local reporters, Schefter continued to double down on his assertion that the Eagles will inquire about Rams quarterback Nick Foles at some point this offseason.

“The report was not that they’re going to trade for Nick Foles, but that they’re going to explore it,” Schefter said. “And if there’s something there, they would do it.”

Schefter said the Eagles don’t plan on using their franchise tag on Sam Bradford, although he didn’t rule out the possibility of Bradford returning for 2016.

“I think they’d like Sam Bradford back, and I think they’ll try to bring him back, and I think there are talks that have occurred to try and bring him back,” Schefter said. “They have not produced a deal so far. Maybe they will, if it comes in at a price that the Eagles are comfortable with, then Bradford is back. If he’s not back, you have to start looking at, what are the Eagles going to do? They’re not going to use the franchise tag on him. That decision’s been made.”

According to Schefter, Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel will also likely be under consideration.

“Knowing it’s going to be tough to get a [Brock] Osweiler or a [Kirk] Cousins, what’s realistic?” Schefter said. “A guy like Chase Daniel. A guy like Nick Foles. A guy like — drafting somebody. Those are the options you’re dealing with this offseason.”

Schwartz: ‘We want to bust you on the knuckles’

Jim Schwartz’s nearly 20-minute conversation on 97.5 spanned plenty of topics, including a lot of talk about his attacking defensive philosophy.

While Schwartz said he doesn’t have exact plans in place for how each player will be used in his defense, it was clear he has a number of ideas about how he wants to coach and attack.

The re-signing of Vinny Curry, Schwartz said, is something he’s very excited about, because in his defense, a main focal point is forcing negative plays, and he believes he has the personnel to go after those plays.

“Negative plays are a big, big part of the NFL. Sacks end drives,” Schwartz said. “You talk about your job description as a defensive coordinator — you don’t know where you’re going to take the field. The opponent might be backed up on their own 1-yard line, they might have the ball at your 15-yard line. You don’t know that. You just have to go play the hand that’s dealt, and you have to get that drive stopped, whatever it is.

“Things that create negative plays throw the offense off schedule,” he continued. “Sacks do that; sacks on third down end the drive, sacks on second down put them in third down and long, and you’re well on your way to ending the drive. Sacks on first down throws them so far off track, they’re unlikely to get back.

“And the other thing is, there’s a higher percentage of turnover on sacks than any other play in football. When you’re hitting the quarterback, and he’s trying to throw, you’re getting flutter balls, you’re getting sack strips. You saw those things on Sunday in the Super Bowl. People talk about creating turnovers. One of the ways you create turnovers is being around the quarterback. Knock the ball out of his hands, hard hits, hitting him as he’s throwing the football; all those things have great chance for turnovers.”

With the re-signing of Curry, whom Schwartz said he had his eye on when he was head coach of the Lions, and the in-place personnel of Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, among others, the new defensive coordinator feels confident in his roster.

He also said he believes his 4-3 system will free up Curry and Mychal Kendricks, two players who said he felt were handcuffed by Billy Davis’ 3-4, two-gap system to play their games.

“[The 3-4] didn’t fit Vinny very well, and I think we can take the handcuffs off him a little, so to speak, and cut him loose, along with the guys up front,” Schwartz said.

As far as the secondary goes, Schwartz said he knows his system puts a lot of pressure on the safeties to make adjustments, but he can’t think of a better player to have behind that front seven than Malcolm Jenkins.

“Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best safeties in the NFL,” Schwartz said. “He proved that in New Orleans, he proved that here. Profile-wise, that’s an exciting guy to work with — he’s got some corner in his background, he can play nickel, he can cover receivers, he can cover athletic tight ends.”

And Schwartz is a big fan of having versatile, “all-dimensional” players on his defense for when they throw a few curveballs at the offense.

“We’re going to throw a lot of fastballs, but every once in a while we might throw a curveball, and those guys [like Curry, Graham, and Connor Barwin] you can drop into coverage, you can do a lot of different things with those guys.

“We might even have a five-down package where we put our five best pass rushers on the field, and only four of them are coming. We want to be a fastball team. We want to bust you on the knuckles with that 100 mile an hour fastball, but every once in a while, we’ll get a curveball in there.”