This week the Eagles will be facing a major rival for the second time with just one opponent between games.
The Birds (3-4-1) will travel to East Rutherford, NJ this Sunday to take on the New York Football Giants (2-7) in an import game on many levels.
The Eagles want to maintain the lead it has in the brutal NFC East plus a win would put them at .500 for the first time this season and would gave badly needed confidence heading into a road game in Cleveland and matchup against the always tough Seattle Seahawks on November 30 at the Linc.
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was asked about having the situation a few times the past few years where he plays a team in such a short period of time.
In these situations, does he find that he needs to alter the scheme or game plan at all, or is the familiarity such that you just go out there and play?
“I think there is that,” Schwartz said at his Monday video conference. “I mean, that's generally a short week, kind of thing. You know, hey, you are what you are. They are what they are. We'll have a little bit of wrinkles and I'm sure they will have some wrinkles off of some of the stuff. Both teams will try to play to some of the things that they were successful and see if the other team made the adjustments to shore in that kind of stuff.”
Schwartz didn't wait to be asked about Giants quarterback Jones' 80-yard run the October 22 meeting at the Linc on National TV.
“Hopefully you won't see us give up any 90-yard runs to quarterback this week,” He said. “But I'm sure they are going to test us on that, so we have to be up to that challenge. Division opponents generally know each other, so it's not a huge thing playing on a short span with only two games in between. I think a lot of that stuff goes out the window. They are familiar with us. We are familiar with them. It's going to come down to who plays with the most spirit, who plays with the most toughness, who executes the best and who plays the best fundamentals. Those things will probably have a lot more to do with a win or a good performance than coming up with a new wrinkle or something the team hasn't seen or expected.”
Like the Eagles, the reason the Giants are below water is, in large part, because of turnovers.
Both quarterbacks have been turnover machines at some point during the season.
But last week, in the Giants 23-20 win over the Washington Football Team, Big Blue was spotless in that department.
Part of that success came from Joe Judge easing back on plays that might have seen risky.
At his video conference on Monday Judge was asked if the pendulum will swing back more to be aggressive to give more oomph to the offense?
The first-year head coach was reminded his team scored just three points in the second half.
“I don’t think anything with that had to do with a lack of aggressiveness at all,” Judge said. “In fact, we were actually moving the ball very well in the second half. You go back afterwards, you watch the tape, okay what happened with we were scoring points? Those were self-inflicted wounds that we have to make sure we get off it. We had some penalties, we had some different things happen offensively, some negative plays. When we don’t go ahead and shoot ourselves in the foot, we’re moving the ball pretty productively. I think the difference in the first half and the second half was we didn’t have any self-inflicted wounds in the first half. We were able to finish drives aggressively.
"I like the way the offense is playing. I think there’s a lot of aggressiveness with how we’re calling plays right now. There’s a lot of aggressiveness in terms of how we’re playing and executing on the field, starting up front with the run blocking and the pass protection from the offensive line. I see that carryover in everything. When Daniel has a nice clean pocket, he’s been very productive. He’s been able to make plays in scramble situations as well. The offensive line really set the table for us this week to play a good, clean game and complementary with the run and the pass game.”
This week, America fondly remembered the life and legacy of Alex Trebek, a Canadian-American television personality known best as the host of the syndicated game show Jeopardy! for 36 years. Trebek host the show from its revival in 1984 until his death in 2020.
There were over 8,000 episodes Jeopardy! over the years. The game was simple, but to the average viewer, was seemingly impossible to win. Three contestants would try to answer questions on subjects including history and current events, the sciences, the arts, popular culture, literature, and languages.Some questions Trebek would ask, you'd think the contestant had a computer operation in his or her head. The show intrigued America for generations.
One of the shows biggest fans has always been Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. In an interview over the weekend with longtime national columnist Peter King asked Schwartz about the influence Trebek and Jeopardy! Had on his life and profession.
Some of King's audience may have thought Trebek helped train Schwartz as a football coach. That was apparently not the case. Schwartz was asked during his Monday video conference to talk about that influence and if it was a tribute to the iconic game show host.
“Obviously I didn't think he was training me as a football coach when it was going on,” Schwartz said during his Monday video conference. “I was a sophomore and junior in college. I didn't even know I was going to go into coaching. We were just playing for fun and it was an ultra-competitive environment.”
Schwartz said there were real lessons from the show that can be carried over to sports.
“You look back and see lessons learned from stuff like that and you see the carryovers to football,” Schwartz said. “It's not just getting the right answer. It's getting the right answer quicker than everybody else. I've always talked to football players about this. It's like, hey, what's two plus two; four. And somebody else says two plus two and they go (counting on fingers) one-two-three-four. Well, both of them got the right answer, but the other one, the ball was snapped and the running back just ran right past you. There's that, and when you're a defensive coach in particular, you're reacting when you make your play calls. You guys see, I very rarely have a play sheet or a call, I might have some notes written down on one small page but that's about it. The reason is, you have to react to what personnel group you're getting, the down and distance, all those different things. You can't pick a play the way offensive coaches do.”
And then there was Trebek. The 80-year-old worked the show to near perfection until his passing on November 8, 2020 from stage IV pancreatic cancer. Schwartz said he admired Trebek for his incredible consistency and always being prepared
“I think just looking back, that had a lot to do, and then just Alex Trebek in general his command over the game,” the coach said. “I thought it was always interesting, you never knew if he really knew the answer or it was just he sold it because it was written on his card. You know, oh, no, Henry the VIII, Henry the VI, that kind of thing, just having command over the game and the players. I think the other thing, he did it for so long, he had such consistency and it didn't happen by mistake. He was such a professional. He never flubbed a word. He never flubbed a syntax. So you knew that every question he had read probably 20 times, and that's a lot of questions on the board. He prepared himself, and it showed in his performance.
“So I think there's some carry overs, practice is important. Big news flash there. Command is important. Thinking quick is important. Competitiveness is important. Those are the lessons that I learned from just watching a silly game show on TV.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii
Some information was taken from Wikipedia.com