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Jim Schwartz Hired as Browns Defensive Coordinator After Stint with Titans

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IV

FILE - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talks with Tennessee Titans senior advisor Jim Schwartz before an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. Schwartz is interviewing Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, with Cleveland for their defensive coordinator vacancy created when coach Kevin Stefanski fired Joe Woods following a season of defensive collapses by the Browns. The 56-year-old Schwartz has been a senior advisor with the Tennessee Titans for the past two seasons. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
AP Photo/Morry Gash, File

The Cleveland Browns have hired Jim Schwartz as their next defensive coordinator, the team announced Wednesday.

ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Tuesday that Schwartz won the job over Sean Desai, Dennard Wilson and Brian Flores, who all interviewed to replace Joe Woods.

Schwartz spent the past two seasons as a senior defensive assistant to Mike Vrabel with the Tennessee Titans. This is his fourth stint as a defensive coordinator, having previously been with the Titans (2001-08), Buffalo Bills (2014) and Philadelphia Eagles (2016-20). The Eagles won Super Bowl LII with Schwartz as their defensive coordinator.

In addition to his time as a defensive assistant, Schwartz was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009 to 2013, posting a 29-51 record.

The Browns were a mediocre defense on paper this season, finishing 14th in yards allowed and 20th in scoring defense. Yet, Cleveland was actually a top-10 pass defense in nearly every category and got another sensational season from defensive end Myles Garrett.

Woods' downfall was a porous run defense and some atrocious tackling during the 2022 season. Cleveland finished 25th in total rushing yards allowed and gave up more touchdowns on the ground than every team besides the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears. Football Outsiders' DVOA metric ranked the Browns 28th in run defense.

Schwartz's defenses are not typically known for blitzing, instead relying on zone-heavy schemes. It's likely the Browns hired him in part knowing Garrett can handle a majority of the pressure generation on the outside, allowing the defensive coordinator to scheme up ways to improve the run defense.

It would not be a surprise if the Browns also heavily invested in improving their front seven in free agency and the draft.