By Harry Allison
Eagles Nation is still in a snit about how the Chip Kelly Era ended with his firing last Dec. 29.
There are some who think he got screwed and many more who thought he deserved the sacking.
But there is universal agreement that the Birds’ defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2015.
Only four teams in the NFL allowed more points per game last year than the Eagles.
The defense was a mess, operating as a wide-open barn door for opponents to ride through at ease, which resulted in plenty of criticism for Billy Davis, the embattled play-caller who was fired after the season along with Kelly.
For Eagles players still on the roster, the switch to new coordinator Jim Schwartz has been met with optimism.
“Coach Schwartz, he’s definitely simplified the whole defense for us,” cornerback Nolan Carroll told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s made it to where we don’t have to think. We’re just going out, we’re playing.”
After Philly’s defense finished 29th, 28th and 30th under Davis, Carroll said his teammates are “buying into” what Schwartz is selling.
“Corners, for us, it’s man-to-man, we’re pressed up,” Carroll said. “We know we have deep safety help and we just have to get the job done at the line. The guys up front, our D-line, he just tells them to rush. There’s no two-gapping, there’s none of that stuff. Our defense is built around our D-line and then getting after the quarterback and disrupting timing, and our linebackers are cleaning everything up.
“So everything is simple, but at the same time, it looks complex to an offense,” Carroll said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do: make it hard on them, but easy on us and just flying around, playing fast, not being scared of making mistakes. And you can see (Schwartz’s) demeanor. He’s all about hanging loose, but at the same time, getting after it. Always be accountable for what you’re doing. Like I said, guys are buying into it, we like what we’re doing right now, and it’s showing in OTAs.”
It’s June, a time in the NFL calendar when every team believes they’re ready to stun the league. But players love simplicity, which gives us reason to believe that Schwartz can do more with the talent on this roster. He certainly can’t do less.