Questions for Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz

It's been a while since we've heard from Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. 

He hasn't spoken publicly to a crowd of reporters in Philadelphia since January, when he stood to the side of the stage while owner Jeffrey Lurie introduced Doug Pederson as the team's new head coach. Schwartz then talked to a semi-circle of reporters just after Pederson's presser was finished. 

Well, Schwartz's silence ends Tuesday, as the Eagles kick off another round of voluntary OTAs. The defensive coordinator — who walked with a swagger out to the practice fields as OTAs began last week — is set to speak to reporters at a 12:45 p.m. press conference.  

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Several questions have been building up. Here are a few of them:

Who are the starting corners? 
While starters in the front seven and at the safety position are pretty-well defined, the corner positions are a little hazier. The presumed starters before OTAs were probably Nolan Carroll and Eric Rowe outside, with perhaps Leodis McKelvin in the slot. 

But last week at OTAs, with Carroll not able to practice fully, McKelvin and Ron Brooks worked with the first team defense and Rowe was on the field in Nickel situations, which moved Brooks inside. Otherwise, Rowe worked with the second unit. Now, it's still early, and McKelvin and Brooks know Schwartz's defense from their time in Buffalo, but who will start once the season comes around? 

The Eagles actually have some decent depth at cornerback, with Carroll, Rowe, McKelvin, Brooks, JaCorey Shepherd, Jaylen Watkins and Jalen Mills. But it's still unclear how all of those guys will shake out and who will even make the team. 

Another question about the secondary: Will Malcolm Jenkins still have a chance to play slot corner in the Nickel, or are those days over?

How much is Fletcher Cox missing? 
Fletcher Cox is waiting for a new long-term deal and hasn't been around for the team's voluntary workouts. Cox is expected to shine in Schwartz's aggressive 4-3 defense, but he hasn't been on the field with his teammates yet. 

How far behind is he? 

The first mandatory period comes from June 7-9. The max the Eagles would be able to fine Cox for missing those three days is $76,580. 

Whenever Cox does return, he'll be thrown into the starting lineup immediately. Not only is he the team's best player, but there's also little depth at the interior tackle position. 

How will the defensive end rotation work? 
During OTAs, Connor Barwin and Vinny Curry have been working with the first-team defense, which means Brandon Graham is back to coming off the bench. 

Last week, Graham said he didn't mind that role because he expects the rotation to get him into the game and still thinks he'll be able to make an impact (see story). But what's that rotation going to look like? The Eagles have three starting-caliber ends along with Marcus Smith and rookie Alex McCalister. Getting all of them snaps during the season won't be easy. 

But what about the depth, Jim? 
While the Eagles have some depth at defensive and and in the secondary, they're seriously lacking depth on the interior line and at linebacker. 

Behind Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan, the team has Beau Allen, Taylor Hart and Mike Martin, along with a few undrafted free agents. That situation actually looks OK compared to what the team has at linebacker. 

The starters are Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks. Sure, not bad. But after the starters, things get weak real quick. Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner, recent addition Ty Powell, and a couple undrafted rookies. This is especially troublesome given the injury histories of Hicks and Kendricks. 

Hopefully, we'll get all of these questions and more answered at Tuesday's press conference. 

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