Jim Schwartz: ‘I’m Excited About’ Bennie Logan
Jim Schwartz wanted to make a point today, and to ensure it came across clearly, he made it twice during his press conference.
First, when he was talking about veteran defensive backs.
“It’s nice having guys like Leodis [McKelvin]; guys like Nolan Carroll; guys like Malcolm Jenkins; Rodney McLeod,” he said. “You know, I forget anybody, just fill in the name and the veteran so that you guys don’t try to read between lines that aren’t there.”
Second, when he explained what Eric Rowe needs to do to be a starter.
“Needs to be consistent from practice to practice, needs to make plays on the ball [and] needs to be physical in the run game,” he said. “And that’s Eric, that’s Leodis, that’s [Ron] Brooks, that’s Nolan Carroll. You guys will probably get on me [for] whoever I forget [to name], but let’s just put it as all the corners.”
Schwartz was referencing how the media noted the absence of Rowe’s name the last time he discussed the cornerback competition, which happened the day after Doug Pederson did the same and explained that Rowe didn’t have a great spring. But the Eagles’ defensive coordinator also discussed several other subjects, the highlights of which are below.
— McKelvin is expected to be a starting corner for the Eagles, but he hasn’t consistently occupied a starting role throughout his career. Schwartz explained why he thinks that is.
“Well, it took him a little while to get started. I thought he really came on to his own the year before I got to Buffalo, 2012. He had a really good year, and the year I was there he was playing at a Pro Bowl level I thought until he broke his leg, ankle, whatever it was in the Miami game. So, what happened before that, I really can’t speak to. Last year was an injury thing. He started on the PUP, and then when they came out — that was a team that was blessed with a lot of corners. Just a fact of where they’ve been the last couple years. But he’s responded well here.”
— Bennie Logan was drafted to fit the two-gapping 3-4 scheme, but Schwartz sees him as a guy that can penetrate and be disruptive in his 4-3.
“Yeah, just because he was drafted for that doesn’t mean that that’s the only thing he can do. That doesn’t mean that’s his only skill set. When he played at LSU, he was in there pass rushing the last couple years. I think he’s come out on a lot of pass situations. We’re going to give him the opportunity to stay out there and rush. He’s going to have to take advantage of that opportunity and show that he can win the one-on-ones and he can complement Fletcher [Cox] and he can complement all our other defensive ends. … I’m excited about him, and it’s going to be fun to watch him sort of expand his horizons a little bit.”
— During the first week of training camp, Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham have exclusively lined up on the left side, but Schwartz said the defensive ends will eventually be in a rotation.
“Yeah, we’ll be switching them. Same thing with our corners. We get those guys moved around an awful lot. With corners there might be a week where we want to match a certain guy on a certain player and he’s got to be used to playing right and left. Maybe an injury forces us to do something like that, and the same thing up front. We’ll use rotation up front. We want to try to get as much production as we can out of guys, and I’ve said this before, it’s a little bit like those [baseball] relievers coming out of the bullpen that are heating it up at 98 and 99 [miles per hour]: it’s hard to do that for seven innings, but you can do it for a couple innings, and that’s what we expect from those guys.”
— Schwartz also explained what he hopes to get out of the referees being at practice during this time.
“It helps us in a non-competitive situation to get educated on the way they see things. We don’t have a full staff out here, but there’s great communication. We have meetings together with the players and the officials, and it’s always my favorite time of the year with the officials. That call didn’t cost you a game, and you can learn a lot when it comes to when you don’t have a horse in the race, dog in the hunt, whatever that expression is. But when they throw it out here in one-on-ones and they can say, ‘Hey, you arm-barred the guy,’ that’s a lot different than in the game because in the game you never think a foul is against you and you think the opponent fouled every play. So, I think it helps us.”