When reports of Jim Schwartz being linked to the Cleveland Browns came out, it seemed like a throwaway mention by Jason LaCanfora. So far, it does not seem to be going away and he might be a candidate for the Browns as a member of the defensive staff, possibly defensive coordinator.
Initially, I dismissed it for two reasons. First, Schwartz has mostly operated as a 4-3 coach. Although that is history, I was directed to this article which discussed his openness of playing the defensive scheme to the strength of the players. In my opinion, that would be a 3-4 or some type of hybrid scheme. So, on that front, I was mistaken that he would not be a candidate and that article does make me feel better from that standpoint.
The other part of the equation was accountability. This part is still an issue. One of the reasons that Rob Chudzinski was fired is supposed to have been the lack of accountability from players. Schwartz had one of the least accountable locker rooms in the NFL in his time with the Detroit Lions. Personal fouls, off the field issues, and a reputation of being an outlaw team that they seemed to embrace for a little while.
Schwartz is not being considered for the head coach (at least that I am aware of), but that issue with accountability seems like it would be for more than just the head coach of the team. It would seem like if they wanted it from the head coach, they would want it throughout the staff. So, that part of this still strikes me as odd.
General manager Mike Lombardi thinks highly of Schwartz and obviously knows him from their time with the Browns under Bill Belichick. It remains to be seen just how far that connection will go, but if Josh McDaniels is their guy they want, pairing him with another former Belichick disciple whom Lombardi is familiar would be a natural move.
Ultimately, I would rather see Schwartz back where he has been at his best, which has been coaching the defensive line. That is where he earned his reputation as a coach and where he has done some really good work, both with the Lions and previously with the Tennessee Titans.
Nevertheless, Schwartz may or may not be a legitimate candidate for a job with the new Browns staff, but he is more than just a throwaway name as I had previously suggested.