Jim Schwartz inherited one of the NFL’s worst defenses and turned them into one of the best in less than two years.
When coach Doug Pederson hired Schwartz to be the defensive coordinator in 2016 Jack Johnson Jersey , the Philadelphia Eagles were coming off three straight seasons ranked in the bottom four in yards allowed.
Schwartz changed the scheme back to a 4-3 base and rebuilt the defense using many of the same players left from the old regime. He also brought a swagger that’s reflected in his players.
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, two-time Pro Bowl safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Beau Allen, and linebacker Mychal Kendricks were part of the unit that struggled under former coach Chip Kelly and former defensive coordinator Billy Davis.
But they’ve thrived under Schwartz because his system fits their skills.
”He always puts us in great position to make plays,” Jenkins said.
Schwartz made an immediate impact last season, helping the defense go from 30th in yards allowed and 28th in points to 13th and 12th, respectively.
This season, they ranked fourth in both categories and had the league’s No. 1 run defense.
While Minnesota’s top-ranked defense got most of the attention, Philadelphia’s unit has been excellent in the playoffs.
The Eagles have allowed only 17 points in two games – one touchdown drive was 18 yards following a fumbled punt. They dominated the Vikings in a 38-7 win in the NFC championship game last Sunday.
Now, Schwartz has to devise a plan to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
”No player stands on his own,” Schwartz said. ”The NFL in general, but particularly the Patriots, you can’t scheme for one player. If you do, then they have plenty of other players that can make plays. You have to do a good job against their entire offense Womens Josh Anderson Jersey , and you can’t really make it about one person.”
Schwartz began his NFL coaching career in Cleveland as a research assistant for Bill Belichick in 1993. After three seasons with the Browns, he spent three years as outside linebackers coach in Baltimore and then went to Tennessee. Schwartz served 10 seasons with the Titans, the last eight as defensive coordinator.
He coached the Detroit Lions for five seasons, leading them to the playoffs in 2011. Schwartz was Doug Marrone’s defensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2014, worked as a consultant for the NFL’s officiating department in 2015 and came to Philadelphia after Pederson was hired to replace Kelly.
”I owe a lot to Bill Belichick. He got my career started,” Schwartz said. ”That’s the last thing that we’ll be thinking about in preparation. You think any of our players care that in 1993 I got hired as an unpaid intern? They are just going out and playing.
”We need to come up with a good plan. We need to execute. We need to keep in mind what we’re good at, keep in mind our matchups and all those different things. And if we do a good enough job at that, we’ll be able to come out with a victory.”
Schwartz holds players accountable in meetings, singling guys out if they make mistakes. But he does it in a way where he doesn’t alienate them.
”He cares about winning. That’s what he’s all about, not himself,” defensive end Chris Long said.
Despite Schwartz’s success in Philadelphia, he won’t be leaving for another head coaching job just yet. The New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals were interested, but Schwartz wouldn’t confirm whether he interviewed with either team.
”I think it’s not fair to our players or anything else to talk about anything else,” Schwartz said.
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Jordan Zimmermann looked like a $110 million pitcher in his last start. The Detroit Tigers hope the oft-injured Zimmermann can produce like that on a regular basis.
Zimmermann Youth Mark Letestu Jersey , who will start for the Tigers against the Texas Rangers on Friday in Detroit, has been a huge disappointment since signing a five-year, $110 million free-agent contract in November 2015. His first two seasons with the club were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness.
He took another trip to the disabled list in May because of a shoulder impingement. He has made three starts since his return and was sharp at Toronto on Sunday, holding the Blue Jays to one run on five hits in seven innings. He didn’t issue a walk while striking out six.
His curveball and slider neutralized Toronto’s lineup as the Tigers ended an 11-game losing streak.
“My off-speed stuff was really good (Sunday),” Zimmermann said afterward. “I think the slider’s coming back.”
If Zimmermann (3-0, 3.91 ERA) can string together some quality outings, he could help the Tigers on two fronts. He could provide stability to a rotation that hasn’t gone deep into games often enough. He could also enhance his trade value, which would provide financial relief to a rebuilding franchise.
He lost his only career start against the Rangers despite holding them to three runs in eight innings in 2016.
Detroit’s roster has been in a state of flux since losing first baseman Miguel Cabrera to a season-ending biceps injury last month. Center fielder Leonys Martin and closer Shane Greene are on the disabled list, and Opening Day second baseman Dixon Machado has been designated for assignment.
Niko Goodrum, who has taken over second base, hit a solo homer Thursday but Texas took the opener of the series 7-5. The Tigers have lost 14 of their last 16 games.
Zimmermann, 32, is 13 years younger than his mound opponent in the second game of the four-game series. Bartolo Colon (5-5, 4.76) will make his 16th start this season for Texas.
Colon lasted just long enough to collect the victory in his last appearance Authentic Philip Rivers Jersey , when he gave up three runs in five innings to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
With another victory Friday, he will surpass Dennis Martinez for the most wins by a Latin American pitcher. They are tied at 245.
“Tying Dennis Martinez, it’s such an accomplishment,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre told MLB.com after Colon’s last outing. “It takes him a long time, 45 years, but it’s nice that he was able to get that, and hopefully he can break it in his next start.”
Colon is 9-10 with a 5.20 ERA in 29 career appearances (28 starts) against Detroit.
Texas designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo did not play in the series opener, so his on-base streak remains at 44 games. He is dealing with tightness in his right quadriceps.
“I don’t want to push it,” Choo told the Dallas Morning News. “Do this until the All-Star break, and the rest will help.”
Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman picked up the slack Thursday, delivering two-run homers as the Rangers built a seven-run lead and held off Detroit’s late surge.