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February 01, 2019

Eagles stay or go: Jim Schwartz and Mike Groh

Eagles NFL

Over the last couple of weeks, we've taken a look at the Eagles' roster, position by position, and determined who is going to stay with the team in 2019, and who will go. In case you're late to the series, you can catch up here: 

Previous stay or go positional analysis

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end

Offensive tackle | Interior offensive line | Defensive end | Defensive tackle 

Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Specialists

Earlier in the week, we looked at Doug Pederson's follow-up season after winning the Super Bowl. Today we'll look at the coordinators.

To begin, this is already moot. Pederson already stated that Jim Schwartz will return as the team's defensive coordinator, and Mike Groh will continue on as the team's offensive coordinator. So they're both staying. Here we'll look at the seasons each coach had.

Jim Schwartz

It astounded me that in the aftermath of the Eagles' playoff loss to the Saints, fans were calling for Schwartz's head. That was an utterly insane reaction to the way that game played out. The Eagles were already missing five defensive starters heading into that matchup, and throughout the game they also lost Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, Chris Long, and Rasul Douglas at various points. And still, Schwartz's defense held the best offense in the NFL to 20 points.

Excluding a meaningless Week 17 game, the Saints previously scored 40, 21, 43, 45, 48, 31, 31, and 23 points in their other home games this season.

Schwartz is among the best defensive coordinators in the NFL. Here are his DVOA rankings when he has just focused on the defense, since 2007:

Year DVOA rank 
 2007 (Titans)
2008 (Titans) 
2014 (Bills)
2016 (Eagles)
2017 (Eagles) 
2018 (Eagles)15 

Understandably, the Eagles' defense wasn't elite when the Eagles' secondary had become so depleted that Schwartz was forced to start guys like DeVante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan. Here's a look at how many games his players missed this season, including the playoffs:

• Rodney McLeod: 15 games.

• Timmy Jernigan: 13 games.

• Derek Barnett: 12 games.

• Jalen Mills: 10 games.

• Ronald Darby: 9 games.

• Sidney Jones: 9 games.

• Josh Sweat: 5 games.

• Jordan Hicks: 4 games.

• Avonte Maddox: 3 games.

• Haloti Ngata: 3 games.

• Corey Graham: 3 games.

• Nigel Bradham: 1 game.

To finish in the top half of the league in DVOA despite that carnage is no small feat.

Schwartz isn't perfect. I believe there are reasonable quibbles with his soft zone looks on third down at times, and well as his sometimes complete abandonment of the blitz. And certainly, there is the rare game in which he is out-coached, as Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic pointed out in a great piece after the Titans game this season. 

But ultimately, Schwartz's results speak for themselves, and the way he was able to keep the defense afloat in 2018 despite an insane rash of injuries was impressive.

#JimmyVerdict: Stay

Your verdict: 

MORE: Eagles safety Rodney McLeod will stay with team in 2019 | A recap of the Eagles' injury-filled 2018 season, in stick figure form

Mike Groh

Groh is a much more difficult evaluation, given that it's Pederson's offense, whereas Schwartz has total control over the defense. 

I do think it's fair to point out that the Eagles lost a hell of an offensive coordinator in Frank Reich, who has turned out to be a damn good head coach as well. The contributions from Reich and John DeFilippo were well documented last season, as the Eagles were dominant on third down and in the red zone.

As we pointed out in the piece on Pederson, the Eagles did not game plan for opponents as well as they had in 2017, as first quarter scoring was WAAAAAY down:

Eagles 1st quarter points 2017 2018 
 Game 1
 Game 2
 Game 3
 Game 410 
 Game 521 
 Game 614 
 Game 7
 Game 8
 Game 917 
 Game 10
 Game 11
 Game 12
 Game 1314 
 Game 14
 Game 15
 Game 16
 TOTAL113 34 

Certainly, that was to be expected to some degree with Carson Wentz being unready to play to start the season, and being hampered by knee and back injuries, not to mention a slew of injuries to the Eagles' skill position players. Still, the degree to which the offense stalled early in games in comparison to 2017 was noticeable to even the most novice of observers.

In fairness, the offense picked up later in the season under Nick Foles, who simply ran the offense as designed without getting too cute, and that's probably what saved Groh from being one-and-done.

#JimmySays: Stay, but I do think the Eagles need to add personnel with ideas to the offensive staff.

Your verdict:

#JimmyVerdict Stay or Go Results

Green = Stay

Red = Go

Orange = Will be back in camp in 2019, but a roster spot is not guaranteed

(Note: Some mobile versions will not display colors.)

 QBCarson Wentz Nick Foles Nate Sudfeld  
 RB Jay AjayiCorey Clement Darren Sproles Wendell Smallwood 
 RB (cont.)Josh Adams Boston Scott   
 WR Alshon JefferyMike Wallace  Nelson AgholorGolden Tate 
 WR (cont.)Mack Hollins Shelton Gibson Jordan Matthews  
 TE Zach ErtzDallas Goedert Richard Rodgers Josh Perkins 
 OT Jason PetersLane Johnson Halapoulivaati Vaitai Jordan Mailata 
 OGBrandon Brooks Isaac Seumalo Chance Warmack Matt Pryor 
 C Jason KelceStefen Wisniewski   
 DEBrandon Graham Derek Barnett Michael Bennett Chris Long 
 DE (cont.)Josh Sweat Daeshon Hall   
 DTFletcher Cox Timmy Jernigan Haloti Ngata Treyvon Hester 
 DT (cont.)Bruce Hector    
 LBNigel Bradham Jordan Hicks Kamu Grugier-Hill Nate Gerry 
 LB (cont.) LaRoy ReynoldsD.J. Alexander B.J. Bello Paul Worrilow 
 CBJalen Mills Ronald Darby Sidney Jones Rasul Douglas 
 CB (cont.)Avonte Maddox Cre'Von LeBlanc   
 SMalcolm Jenkins Rodney McLeod Corey Graham Tre Sullivan 
 S (cont.) Deiondre HallChris Maragos   
 K/P/LSJake Elliott Cameron Johnston Rick Lovato  
 Head coachDoug Pederson    
 Offensive coordinatorMike Groh   
 Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz   

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