Eagles defensive coach denies slighting DK Metcalf, says who really should be offended
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Wednesday that he was paying Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf a compliment when he compared him to former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson before the game Monday night.
Then Schwartz took a shot at Metcalf, who said after the game that he felt disrespected after Schwartz mentioned Johnson and then told him, "You're not there yet."
Metcalf had 10 catches for 177 yards in the Seahawks' 23-17 win over the Eagles on Monday.
Schwartz started off by calling Johnson the best player he ever coached and coached against. Schwartz was the Detroit Lions head coach from 2009-13, and Johnson was the team's receiver from 2007-15.
"If you get your motivation that way, fine, we’re not going to worry too much about that," Schwartz said. The only person in the discussion with a reason to be offended, he said, would be someone like Johnson.
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Johnson, nicknamed "Megatron," set an NFL record for receiving yards in a season with 1,964 in 2012. He finished with 11,619 yards receiving, among the all-time leaders despite playing just nine seasons.
"I had five years up close and personal, of every defensive coordinator’s No. 1 job was to stop Calvin Johnson," Schwartz said. "(They) ran every tricked-up defense known to man and he still made the plays. He was an incredibly hard worker, underreported with him.
"A great person, and just the honor of my career to coach a guy like Calvin Johnson. So in my mind, it’s funny any time you speak someone’s name in the same sentence as Calvin Johnson, I don’t know how you can take offense to that.
"I tried to pay the guy a compliment. I said I read (Metcalf's) story, knew he had overcome injury, heard he was a hard worker, and said he reminds me a little bit of Calvin. Congratulated him after the game. At the time he told me, ‘Hey, thanks Coach. That means a lot to me.’"
After the game, Metcalf told reporters: "In my mind, I’m not trying to be Megatron. I’m trying to be me. So I had a little chip on my shoulder the whole game."
Metcalf was mostly matched up against Eagles cornerback Darius Slay, who covered him one-on-one.
Slay took responsibility for Metcalf's big game, describing his performance as, "By far, that’s my worst game I ever played in the league. I really truly lost almost like every 50-50 ball."
Slay then bristled at a question about whether he had asked for help from a safety or nickel cornerback during the game, replying: "Hell no, I don’t need no help. What kind of question is that? Next one."
Schwartz backed up Slay on Wednesday, saying that Slay covering Metcalf enabled the Eagles to control quarterback Russell Wilson and shut down the other wide receiver in Tyler Lockett.
Wilson completed 22 of 31 passes for only 230 yards. But Wilson only had 12 yards rushing. Lockett had 3 catches for 23 yards.
"We put a real real big hat on Slay in that game because we gave him no help," Schwartz said. "I’d like to say, with a player like that, never once during the week did he ask where his help is going to come from. Never once during the game did he say, ‘I need some help.’
"He just kept going out there and battling. He didn’t have the greatest day. He knows that ... In order to keep Russell from scrambling, in order to handle their run game, in order to handle Lockett and do all those other things, we had to put that hat on Slay. I don’t look at it like he lost us the game. I look at it like he was the reason that we were able to do all those other things."
The Eagles' task won't get any easier this weekend, going against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams, who had 180 yards receiving last season in the Eagles' 34-27 win over the Packers.
Rodgers leads the NFL both in touchdown passes with 33 and in passer rating at 117.6.
Schwartz paid Rodgers a compliment, saying, "He's taken his game to another level this year."
Then Schwartz added with a laugh: "Now, giving a compliment to a player, that might get me. Maybe he takes a slight in that. But it's a sincere compliment."
Ertz comes off IR
Tight end Zach Ertz was activated off injured reserve Wednesday. He has missed the last five games with an ankle injury suffered against the Ravens on Oct. 18. Ertz was having the worst season of his career. He has 24 receptions for 178 yards.
To make room for Ertz, the Eagles placed RT Lane Johnson on IR. Johnson said last week he's going to have season-ending surgery on an ankle injury that has bothered him for most of the past two seasons.
Johnson said he expects to need 4-5 months to recover.
The Eagles also activated J.J. Arcega-Whiteside off the COVID-19 list. He had missed the previous two games because of his positive test. Arcega-Whiteside was also a healthy scratch the week before, against the Giants on Nov. 15.
DT Fletcher Cox (neck) and S Rudy Ford (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday, while Ertz (ankle) and LB T.J. Edwards (hamstring) were limited.
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