MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Jim Schwartz has done wonders for the Philadelphia Eagles defense but will need to find one final trick up his sleeve to slow down the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, something only two men have done before in the Tom Brady era.
The Eagles defensive coordinator knows full well there is no way of shutting down an offense led by five-times Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brady but he is also confident in his players and not about to rewrite a winning playbook.
“We’re confident in ourselves too. They are going to have to come up with a gameplan to defend us also. It works both ways,” Schwartz told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’re certainly going to take into account what they do well and we’re going to take into account their schemes and personnel packages and matchups that we need to be aware of.
“But we also can’t get too far from our personality. We have to sort of play the way that we played that has gotten us to this point.”
The Patriots’ two Super Bowl losses since Brady was drafted have each come at the hands of the New York Giants, whose defensive coordinators did not allow more than 17 points in either game.
But that could prove tough as the Patriots were the second-highest scoring team in the NFL this season and averaged nearly 30 points in their two playoff games.
“We have confidence in ourselves regardless of who the opponent is,” said Schwartz. “We always respect our opponent and we always want to sort of tailor our gameplan for the talent that we are playing.
“But we never want to get too far from who we are and what we do. We’ve got confidence in our matchups and we’ve got confidence in our ability to create stops.”
Schwartz, a former Detroit Lions head coach, has every reason to be confident.
He inherited one of the NFL’s worst defenses when the Eagles hired him in 2016 and has since turned them into one of the best in the league.
The Eagles defense, which was the fourth stingiest during the regular season, have allowed a total of 17 points in two playoffs games.
Schwartz said the only two stats that really matter to him are points allowed and takeaways and credits his players for excelling at both, something that he feels could be just enough to knock off the defending champion Patriots.
“I’ve been a part of teams that were good stopping the run or maybe could create some turnovers or maybe were good on third down but maybe were weak in a different area,” said Schwartz.
“But I think this is a well-rounded group.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury