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  • Writer's pictureAl Thompson


Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz says if you play for turnovers, bad things can happen. Photo by Andy Lewis

How many times have we all seen an over aggressive defender try to jump a route only to burned for a long gain or a touchdown?

There is a fine line between making a play, getting a turnover, or looking like a fool. The fool role has happened too often for the Eagles this season.

In the second half of the loss to Washington and the entire game against the Lod Angeles Rams. The Eagles defenders seemed to fall for every play in their opponent’s playbook.

The more a defender looks for a turnover, the worse it seems to get.

Against the Rams, everyone behind the defensive line looked like they trying to make the play. And the Birds were burned over and over in their 37-19 loss. Against Cincinnati, the Eagles defense simply played their game on that side of the ball and they had a solid overall outing.

But the Eagles defense still does not have a defensive turnover. The Birds (0-2-1) didn’t win the game, but they also didn’t lose the game (it was a 23-23 tie) and they did rack up eight sacks against Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, who was impressive in just his third NFL start.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has always said that turnovers come in bunches.

He was asked earlier this week about when you sack a rookie quarterback eight times and not one of those results in a fumble or an errant throw that's picked, one, how surprising is that, and is the ability to force a turnover something just some defensive players have a knack for doing or is there something that players can be coached to do?

“Well I would say this, if you're hunting for turnovers, you're going to put yourself in bad position and we have seen that for probably a hundred years in the NFL,” Schwartz said as he prepared his team for a nationally televised game against the San Francisco 49ers (8:20 PM NBC) who are 2-1 for the season. “If you're going outside the scheme or you're just playing risky out there just to try to make a turnover, a lot of bad things can happen to you.”

Schwartz continued.

“Our philosophy is always make the plays that come to you,” he said. “One of the reasons we put a lot of emphasis on our pass rush is there is a high incident of turnover when you're hitting the quarterback. Errant throws, ball security in the pocket, usually one hand on it. And I got to take my hat off to Joe Burrow. We hit him hard and hit him a lot and he was very secure with that football. We probably only had really one opportunity. He floated one in overtime that we had a chance to maybe get that turnover, but he was very careful with the ball, took a lot of hits and I thought that that probably had a lot to do with the game.

"But if you're playing physical football, if you're playing responsibility, if you're doing your job, and you're around the quarterback a lot, I think the turnovers will come and they always have for us if we keep our eye on those things.”

Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry, seen here chasing Bengals running back Giovani Bernard, agrees with Schwartz that it's bad strategy to "chase plays." Photo by Andy Lewis

Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry was asked about the remarks Schwartz made about the importance of discipline while playing defense.

He agreed when you're intentionally trying to get turnovers, you can get burned.

“I think what he was trying to get to is, don't chase plays,” Gerry said.” “I think there was a couple of times out there, myself included, where people were chasing things that, and that's one thing that in the second game was kind of our kryptonite. I feel like we did better in this game, Cincinnati where we just all made the plays that that came to us. We all just stuck to our responsibilities and read our keys, we just make the plays that come to you. Then good things will happen off of that. But anytime you're chasing, looking for things, if you let people run free or you're out of your gap and whatnot…so just don't chase plays.” *

Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii

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