If you believe the rumors, next year Jim Schwartz will be the newest head coach of the New York Giants. Or the Arizona Cardinals. Or the Indianapolis Colts. Or the Chicago Bears. Every off-season one assistant coach or coordinator is the hot coaching ticket to fill one of the vacancies for the numerous shit-canned head coaches from the previous season.
I understand why the Giants’ fan base would be excited to hire a guy like Schwartz. Great defensive coordinator. Firey attitude. Smart, sharp hairline without a trace of hair gel to remind them of the ex-greaser failure Ben McAdoo.
But here’s the thing….Jim Schwartz is not head coaching material and hopefully he’s smart enough to know it.
Schwartz has a good thing going with the Eagles. The media loves him, he gets to coach an extraordinarily young and talented group of defenders, and he doesn’t have to worry about ANYTHING on the other side of the ball. All of his energy can be used to cook up new and intricate defensive schemes to terrorize NFC East opponents and administer vast amounts of head trauma to opposing quarterbacks.
It’s perfect for him, and at the same time it’s what made him such an abject failure as a head coach in Detroit.
Oh, do you not recall his tenure as head coach of the Detroit Lions? It’s probably because he went 29-51 over the course of five forgettable seasons. Yes, he went 10-6 one year, but the one thing anyone even remotely remembers about that season was his tug of war handshake with Jim Harbaugh. Do you remember anything else? I’m sure Matt Stafford threw a few touchdowns to Calvin Johnson – with fans getting excited because THIS WAS THE YEAR the Lions would actually “make some noise” in the playoffs – and then threw some horrendous interceptions in their one and only playoff game and that was the end of the season…what else could have happened?
It was five uneventful years for one of the most inept franchises in the NFL. How could anything but a botched post-game handshake be the highlight of his head coaching tenure?
And that’s the problem with Schwartz. He fits into that special group of coaches who excel at nothing else but being a coordinator….and that’s not a bad thing! Josh McDaniels is one of the best offensive coordinators in the league, but as a head coach he was a hateable, abject failure (he’s still hated now by most of his players, but he’s at least successful). Wade Phillips has consistently molded defenses into unstoppable juggernauts at each stop he’s made…but in 12 seasons as a head coach for six different teams he’s gone 1-5 in only five playoff appearances.
Hell, look at Buddy Ryan. LOOK AT HIM. The architect of some of the most feared and revered defenses the league has ever seen…..and Rich Kotite won more playoff games with the Eagles than he did. Ryan’s entire offensive game plan was more limited than the play calling selection for the Eagles in Tecmo Super Bowl. QB Run was unstoppable in that game…do you think Ryan had ANYTHING as intricate in his offensive playbook as QB Run? Hell no. He just told Cunningham to run around a bit, try not to get killed as his patchwork offensive line collapsed around him, and then throw up a prayer to Fred Barnett.
If Schwartz has to step outside of defensive play calling and actually think of any other facets of a team he’s doomed to failure. He can hardly handle a press conference now, do you think he could handle the New York press corps grilling him over another Eli Manning three-interception game? His head would explode.
He needs a Doug Pederson to balance his intensity. Doug never gets too high, never gets too low. Locker rooms love a high-intensity coach when they’re winning; players will run through a wall for a guy like Schwartz when you’re on a win streak and the verge of the playoffs….but they’re going to want to slit your throat when you’re on a four-game slide and making the linemen run stairs in Week 11 for a missed blocking assignment.
Unfortunately, the siren song of a head coaching job is too much for any man. Instead of keeping the Eagles defense as one of the top units of the league next year, Schwartz may opt to lead the Giants to a 7-9, or at best 8-8, record in 2018-2019.
Be smart, Schwartz. Stay in Philadelphia. Win a Super Bowl with the team in the next few years, and then feel to go on and fail miserably as a head coach elsewhere. You owe us that much.