Jim Schwartz's defense of his defense started Tuesday with pointing out that the Eagles won. Even though the Eagles allowed 504 yards and 29 points in their victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, it's easier to fix the issues after a win than after a loss.
"Our goal is to win the game. It's not to hold them to a certain amount of yards rushing, or a certain percentage on third down or red zone. And we're 2-1 in the last three games," Schwartz said. "That's the bottom line. That being said, there's certain things that help you win games. … We need to play better."
What seemed to irk Schwartz the most were penalties that extended drives. The Eagles allowed the Giants to convert 10 of 18 third downs, but Schwartz is bothered by the free first downs. The Eagles were charged with three defensive holding penalties, two offsides, one illegal contact, and an unnecessary roughness.
"When we're playing our best, we don't give teams a second chance," Schwartz said. "I've said that a few weeks in a row now, and I'm getting a little bit tired of saying it. But we have to get back to it. We have to get back to clean football, back to not giving them stuff for free."
Ronald Darby was charged with two of those penalties. The Eagles cornerback, who had a clutch interception, struggled in coverage at times against the Giants, including allowing a 57-yard touchdown. But the coverage breakdowns were not limited to Darby, a point Schwartz made Tuesday.
"I wouldn't say they're Ron Darby's issues. I would say they're secondary issues," Schwartz said. "Ron gave up some plays in this game, but I think everybody in our secondary, other than maybe Corey Graham, gave up a play. It's not a one-man game. Ron can play better than he did. He knows that."
More alarming for the Eagles is that the defense has had a regression in recent weeks. The Eagles allowed 88 points during the past three games (81 against the defense). Schwartz said it's not the same issue in every game. Against the Rams, they struggled against the run but did a good job against the Rams' play-action passes.
"This week, we played the run pretty well," Schwartz said. "We didn't respond well to the quick passes. The challenge is being able to survive it to win. That's the point, man. Our job is to win games. It's all coaching after that."