All in all, Jim Schwartz knows there are a "lot of layers" of what goes on during the course of a football game. When one part is up, another part might be down. The 52 points the Eagles have allowed in the fourth quarter of games this season? That's something that needs to improve, Schwartz said.
"We've got to do a better job of keeping points off the board," Schwartz said on Tuesday in his weekly press conference.
True, but the Eagles' defense has held up admirably in the face of some significant personnel challenges. Top cornerback Ronald Darby has been out since the opener. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox went out in the first half of the Giants game and missed Sunday's win in Los Angeles and is a question mark for Sunday against Arizona. Safety Rodney McLeod missed the second half of the Kansas City game and all of the win over New York. Depth in the secondary has been further taxed by hamstring injuries to safety Corey Graham and cornerback Jaylen Watkins.
It's a war of attrition during the course of a 16-game NFL season. The Eagles are no different than any other team.
Four "X" plays from the Los Angeles offense combined with some uncharacteristic penalties committed by the Eagles' defense – three offsides penalties, a holding penalty, and a pass-interference penalty are the ones Schwartz pointed to on Tuesday – helped the Chargers. The Eagles weren't as crisp against New York as they were in the opening two games, so playing a "clean" game is a goal for Schwartz this week against a Cardinals offense that wows with its speed and big-play capabilities.
"They can put a 4x100 relay team together. They've got a lot of speed," Schwartz said. "And a quarterback (Carson Palmer) that I know coach (head coach Bruce) Arians had said he's playing at a level that he hasn't seen him play before. They've had their struggles here and there but I think he's really playing good football.
"We have our work cut out for us."
Arizona features Eagles-killer Larry Fitzgerald, a first-ballot Hall of Famer someday who has a 5-2 record against the Eagles in his career with 41 receptions for 693 yards and eight touchdowns. But as Schwartz said, the Cardinals are more than one player. They've got speed at receiver with Jaron Brown, John Brown, and J.J. Nelson. Replacing star running back David Johnson hasn't been easy, but the Cardinals split Johnson's duties with veterans Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, who is particularly dangerous catching the football out of the backfield.
"It can't be about one player. If you make it that way you are going to be susceptible to other things," Schwartz said, "and we've got to do a better job of not being susceptible to other things."