It wouldn’t be an NFL season without some drama surrounding Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Considered a brilliant defensive mind, Schwartz himself is also seen as a highly enigmatic figure.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that on the eve of Philadelphia’s Week 1 game against the Washington Redskins, one report surfaced that Schwartz is attempting to unseat Doug Pederson as the Eagles’ head coach.
“Everybody knows Pederson isn’t a head coach. He might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen,” former NFL executive Mike Lombardi told the Ringer (h/t the Philadelphia Inquirer). “When will the Eagles admit their mistake? Will they throw away 2017 by stubbornly sticking to the Pederson Principle?”
This led to the Inquirer’s own Jeff McLane to openly wonder whether Schwartz was aiming for Pederson’s job.
“And yet, Eagles coaches and players have made the link. Lombardi’s initial comments, which appeared on the web site The Ringer, have only fueled the belief from some in the NovaCare Complex that Schwartz has designs on Pederson’s job,” McLane noted.
Whew, there’s a lot of moving parts to this. It also just goes to show us how much fun it is to coach within the Philadelphia sports media scene.
In any event, Schwartz himself has responded to these rumors.
“I am very comfortable with my relationship with Doug Pederson. And I know he’s comfortable in his relationship with me,” the long-time coach said Tuesday, via SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation. “What I do here is I work extremely hard to execute the defense the way that he has outlined it for me. OK? I’m very comfortable in that. And not everybody is privy to those instructions.”
It’s never easy for a head coach without any previous experience in that role to lead a staff of assistants. That’s magnified when one assistant is a former head coach himself.
For his part, Schwartz has always been a hands-on figure.
“I just know the way that Doug outlined the job to me. And it had nothing to do with anything but having my personality and he embraced that. You know, look, I can be brash,” Schwartz continued. “Check. I can be in your face. Check. It’s the only way I know to coach defense. As long as Coach Pederson is fine with it, I’m going to continue that. And he is.”
Maybe that’s led to speculation that he is aiming for Pederson’s job behind the scenes. We saw nearly the same thing play out when then 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula seemingly privately lobbied for the team’s head coaching job when Jim Harbaugh was still in that role back in 2014. Ultimately, we know what happened there.
Despite Schwartz’s words to the contrary, this is most definitely something to keep an eye on as the season progresses in Philadelphia. At the very least, it wouldn’t be a shocker to learn that Schwartz himself is aiming for a head coaching job somewhere in the NFL.