Former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz lands new defensive coordinator gig

Former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is a defensive coordinator again, as the Cleveland Browns have hired him to turn around their underachieving unit.

Jim Schwartz was last a defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020. He interviewed for the Cleveland Browns coordinator opening last week, as they look to replace Joe Woods, and according to multiple reports Tuesday morning the former Lions’ head coach will be the Browns’ new defensive coordinator.

Schwartz was the Lions’ head coach from 2009-2013, with a 29-51 record and one playoff appearance (10-6 record in 2011). Since then he has been defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (2014) and the Eagles (2016-2020), then a senior defensive assistant with the Tennessee Titans the last two seasons. He got a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles in 2017.

Before becoming the Lions’ head coach, Schwartz stock rose when he was the Titans’ defensive coordinator for eight seasons (2001-2008).

Schwartz actually got his start in the NFL with the Browns, as a personnel scout from 1993-1995. He interviewed for the Browns’ head coaching vacancy in 2020.

Jim Schwartz will attempt to spark underachieving Browns defense

The Browns’ defense is a case study of the whole not quite being equal to the sum of the parts. There’s plenty of talent in place (Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams). But they were 20th in scoring defense this season (22.4 points per game), 18th in total yards allowed and among the worst teams in the league against the run (135 yards allowed per game; 25th in the league, 4.7 yards per carry allowed).

The Browns were a top-five pass defense this season (196.2 yards allowed per game). But they also had the fifth-fewest pass attempts against, and Garrett (16 sacks) accounted for almost half of their sacks (34), and no one else had more than three.

Schwartz favors a wide-9 alignment with his edge rushers, which should be a boon for Garrett and help the Browns court edge rushers in free agency. In his career as a coordinator he has had a top-10 yardage defense six times and a top-10 scoring defense four times (both four times).