Jim Schwartz was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday to become the team’s new defensive coordinator, as announced by new head coach Doug Pederson at his introductory press conference in South Philadelphia. An offensive coordinator has yet to be named by Pederson, who said he was still in the evaluation period on that front, but Schwartz will bring significant experience to the defensive side of the ball. The 49-year old has been a football coach since 1989, and first entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1993 as a personnel scout under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns.
Jim Schwartz had other potential suitors in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns, but ultimately joined Pederson in Philadelphia. According to ESPN, Schwartz would have preferred to join the Tennessee Titans staff as he lives in Nashville, but new Titans head coach Mike Mularkey plans on retaining incumbent defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Schwartz replaces Billy Davis, who spent the last three seasons as the Eagles defensive coordinator under Chip Kelly, who was fired in December, the week before the regular season finale. Pat Shurmur served as the Eagles’ interim head coach for their Week 17 tilt with the Giants, and is expected to remain in the running to return as offensive coordinator under Pederson.
Jim Schwartz has employed a 4-3 defense at every stop during his NFL coaching career, which would require his new defense to switch from the 3-4 scheme Davis had implemented since his hire. That notion of change had the Eagles’ best defensive player, Fletcher Cox, ecstatic, as evidenced by this post to his Twitter account.
Did somebody say 4-3 ????????????????????????????.... Or am I dreaming ????????— fletcher cox (@fcoxx_91) January 18, 2016
Jim Schwartz spent this past season as a consultant with the NFL’s officiating department but has plenty of experience as both defensive coordinator and head coach. It’s that experience that has Doug Pederson equally excited to have him as a part of his staff.
“I’m excited to have him, his track record, his defenses that have led the National Football League. I’ve had a chance to coach against him and I’m glad he’s on our team now. And so I’m honored to have him to be a part of my staff. You want to put the best people in place — not only for the Philadelphia Eagles — but people that are Doug Pederson people. People that I can trust, coaches that I can trust, coaches that I can trust are doing the best things for their players.”
Schwartz served as defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2014 under Doug Marrone. In his lone season in Buffalo, the Bills led the league in sacks and finished fourth in total defense and in scoring defense. Marrone was replaced by Rex Ryan, who raised some eyebrows when he relieved Schwartz and replaced him with Dennis Thurman. Under Ryan and Thurman, Buffalo’s defense regressed in 2015, finishing 19th in total defense and 15th in scoring defense. They especially were hurt by Schwartz’ absence in the sack department, finishing 31st with just 21 sacks all year.
Jim Schwartz also spent five seasons as the head coach of the Detroit Lions. He led the Lions to the playoffs in 2011, the franchise’s first visit to the postseason since 1999. He was dismissed following the 2013 season after finishing 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the fourth time in his tenure as Lions head coach. He was able to exact some measure of revenge when his Bills defeated Detroit 17-14 in 2014 and he was carried off the field by his Bills’ defensive players. Philadelphia will be Schwartz’ third team in which he’ll lead the defense, as he previously served as defensive coordinator with the Titans from 2001-08.
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