The Browns are turning to Tennessee Titans senior defensive assistant Jim Schwartz to be their next defensive coordinator, a league source confirmed to the Beacon Journal.
Schwartz replaces Joe Woods, who was fired hours after the Browns’ 7-10 season concluded last week. Schwartz was one of four individuals interviewed over the last week, along with Seattle Seahawks associate head coach/defense Sean Desai, Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Brian Flores and Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator Dennard Wilson.
There’s a connection between Schwartz and Browns general manager Andrew Berry, who worked together with the Philadelphia Eagles. Schwartz was defensive coordinator with the Eagles from 2016-20, while Berry was Vice President of Football Operations with them in 2019.
Schematically, Schwartz has been a 4-3 proponent, which is the same base scheme Woods used. He’s favored man-to-man coverage, while Woods preferred zone.
Schwartz, 56, started his NFL career with the Browns in 1993 as a personnel scout under Bill Belichick. When the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, he received his first on-field coaching assignment when he was named outside linebackers coach, working under head coach Ted Marchibroda for three seasons.
“When Jim came to Cleveland, he was really one of the most impressive young coaches or personnel people that I had or have had during the course of my career,” Belichick told MLive.com in 2010. “And I’ve had a lot of them. He was very impressive. Jim’s a really smart guy. He can handle a lot of assignments. He can keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time.
“He can manage a lot of different things and know where he is on all of them and have the foresight to figure out if he’s doing something — if he’s not getting the results that I would be looking for — to come to me and say, ‘You know, I think we should look at this instead of that,’ or, ‘I know what you’re looking for, I don’t think this is going to quite get it, how about if we look at it this way or how about if we do it that way?'”
Schwartz has spent the last two seasons with the Titans as a senior defensive assistant, where he’s been a sounding board in defensive meetings and worked hand-in-hand with head coach Mike Vrabel. It was Schwartz’s second stint with the Titans organization, having been an assistant from 1999-2008, the last eight of those as defensive coordinator.
During a five-year stint as the Detroit Lions’ head coach from 2009-13, Schwartz went 29-52. He did guide the Lions to the 2011 NFC playoffs.
Schwartz also spent 2014 as the defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills under head coach Doug Marrone.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.