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April 10, 2021

Random notes: Jim Schwartz, Nate Sudfeld, and the Eagles' easy 2021 schedule

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Jim-Schwartz_092120_KF Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

There were a few things worth noting this week related to the Philadelphia Eagles that probably weren't worth their own articles, so we'll just round them up and cover them here. Good? Good.

Jim Schwartz is once again coaching with the Tennessee Titans

Before the Eagles' final game against the Washington Football Team, it was revealed the Schwartz would be stepping away from the Eagles, and possibly retiring. I can't say that I know Schwartz all that well on a personal level, but covering him for the last five years, retirement felt unlikely to me. 

He's back sooner than expected, as he'll be working as a defensive consultant for the Titans in 2021.

John McMullen wrote an appreciation piece about Schwartz for PhillyVoice that's worth checking out, in which he notes that "Schwartz may never be romanticized the way Buddy Ryan, Jim Johnson, or even Bud Carson are by the Philadelphia faithful, but he accomplished what they never could in an era where defensive football is not exactly encouraged."

But beyond the Super Bowl run in 2017, Schwartz is an accomplished defensive coordinator with a quality history of results when he has just focused on the defense. His DVOA rankings in those seasons, since 2007:

 YearDVOA rank 
 2007 (Titans)
 2008 (Titans)
 2014 (Bills)
 2016 (Eagles)
 2017 (Eagles)
 2018 (Eagles)15 
 2019 (Eagles)12 
 2020 (Eagles)15 

Understandably, the Eagles' defense hasn't been elite when their secondary has routinely become depleted each season, and Schwartz has been handicapped by roster holes otherwise, notably at linebacker. To finish in the top half of the league in DVOA in 2018, 2019, and 2020 despite the Eagles' injury issues is no small feat.

There were things that could be nitpicked at times about his style of calling games, but the results speak for themselves. We'll see soon if "the grass is greener," so to speak.

Nate Sudfeld signed with the 49ers

The money details: 

It's a veteran salary benefit contract, which means that Sudfeld will count for a measly $850,000 on the Niners' cap in 2020. In that same tweet above, Colt McCoy's contract is mentioned as well. He'll count for $987,500 on the Lions' cap, just FYI. I'll resist the urge to point out that is was wholly illogical for the Eagles to pay a backup quarterback anything more the types of deals that Sudfeld and McCoy got with next to no cap space in a non-contending season.

The Eagles have the easiest schedule in the NFL, and by a decent margin

The Eagles' 2021 opponents had a combined record of 117-155 (0.430) in 2020, which gives them the easiest schedule in the NFL. The next-closest team is the Dallas Cowboys, whose 2021 opponents had a combined record of 122-148-2 (0.452) in 2020. 

Here are the Eagles' opponents, and their 2020 records. I also went ahead and added in point differentials.

 Eagles opponentsRecord Point differential 
 Cowboys6-10 -78 
 Cowboys6-10 -78 
 Giants6-10 -77 
 Giants6-10 -77 
 WFT7-9 +6 
 WFT7-9 +6 
 Saints12-4 +145 
 Buccaneers11-5 +137 
 Chiefs14-2 +111 
 Chargers7-9 -42 
 49ers6-10 -14 
 Falcons4-12 -18 
 Panthers5-11 -52 
 Raiders8-8 -44 
 Broncos5-11 -123 
 Lions5-11 -142 
 Jets2-14 -214 
 TOTAL117-155 -554 

They only have three games against teams that had winning records in 2020.

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