Schwartz: ‘That’s Not A Way To Play Football’
With the first preseason game a week away and the regular season inching closer, Jim Schwartz appears to be cranking up the sense of urgency.
Speaking with reporters after practice Thursday, Schwartz took a question about Eric Rowe‘s ups and downs and used it to highlight the spotty play of the defense overall.
“Everyone wants to make him a seasoned vet. He started for about a half-a-year and he is changing schemes,” he said. “But we’re also through our OTAs and we’re through our minicamp and we’re through a little bit more than a week of camp, and we have to start putting those inconsistencies behind us. I’m not just talking about Eric, I’m talking about every guy on defense. You saw what happened today: we’d make a play, give up a play; make a play, give up a play. That’s not a way to play defense. That’s not a way to play football. We’ve gotta be consistent and that’s our challenge. Our challenge is ironing that out.”
Schwartz, we’re learning, won’t shower anyone with praise just for the sake of it. He praised Jordan Hicks‘ intelligence but downplayed his role when it comes to lining the front up, saying, “Yeah, it’s really not that complicated so I don’t want to him any gold stars for that.” He called Mychal Kendricks a “very, very good athlete” and acknowledged this defense is fairly new to him when answering a question about how the linebacker has done in coverage, before adding “but we’re starting to get towards the end of being new.”
Schwartz was asked if his patience when it comes to the team’s inconsistencies is growing shorter and shorter.
“Yeah, you know, we’re getting close,” he said. “You want to teach and sometimes guys learn best from mistakes. Sometimes when you make mistakes it’s ingrained a little bit and you vow not to make the same one again. That’s part of training camp — part of training camp is going out and having some trial by fire and learning from mistakes and things like that. What I’m really talking about is repeat mistakes. Everybody is going to make a mistake — I make a lot, the players make a lot — the key is don’t make the same one twice and learn from your mistake.”
The message seems to be aimed at just about every position, save safety. Schwartz has been lauding the duo of Malcolm Jenkins (who left with a hamstring injury Thursday) and Rodney McLeod since taking the job, and heaped more praise on them Thursday.
“I have been complimentary to the safeties for good reason. Those guys are good players,” said Schwartz. “They come to work every day. They are a great example to the secondary on how to be a pro, how to communicate, how to be in the right spots. When I say we haven’t been consistent as a defense, I’d probably like to exempt those two guys because they’ve played very, very consistently, they’re great communicators and we need more guys following suit.”