By Peter Gleason
No sooner had the Eagles’ new coach Doug Pederson met the local press at the NovaCare complex today than his choice for defensive coordinator was peppered with questions.
“Man, I heard about you guys, but man. Doug (Pederson) just gets introduced, he’s thanking his wife, Jeannie, and the first question is about the last drive of the Kansas City game,” Jim Schwartz said after Pederson’s introductory press conference as head coach ended.
“This is going to be fun.”
Always a 4-3 coach, and for the most part a wide-9 defensive coach, Schwartz said today he will not decide what scheme he’ll employee until see what he has on the roster.
“Scheme-wise, I’m a system guy,” he said. “I don’t like being labeled. In Buffalo (were he was defensive coordinator in 2014), we didn’t do the same things we did in Detroit (where he was head coach from 2009-2013) and we didn’t do the same things in Tennessee (where he was coordinator from 2001-08). We do what we’re good at doing.”
The Eagles appear headed to a change back to a 4-3 scheme, the same one they employed from 1986-2012, but got away from under defensive coordinator Billy Davis the past three seasons.
“I always believe in playing to your player’s strengths,” he said. “Every place I’ve been Tennessee, I had Jevon Kearse and Albert Haynesworth; Detroit, we brought in Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairly and Cliff Avril; in Buffalo we had Mario Williams and Marcel Darius. I’ve always had really good fronts.”
The Eagles’ best player is defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who could flourish even more under Schwartz. They have a free agent in Vinny Curry, who needs to be re-signed. And they have Brandon Graham, who has gone from 4-3 end to 3-4 linebacker.
“I remember Graham from the Senior Bowl,” Schwartz said. “We coached him there. He got three sacks in that game. That’s probably how he got in the first round. He might owe me a little bit of that signing bonus.”