Matchup No. 1: Jim Schwartz vs Doug Pederson
The infamous picture of the Browns jersey with all the quarterbacks that have started a game since the team returned in 1999 is more than well-documented. It's a mind-blowing list that is now up to…checks notes… 38 different quarterbacks. However, because it has been such a long time, and because the list is so extensive, it often gets overlooked that the fourth name on the list is none other than Jacksonville Jaguar head coach Doug Pederson.
While Pederson only started eight games for the Browns in 2000, tallying a 1-7 record, he is infamously tied to the organization for however long the picture of that dreaded jersey stays in circulation. Given their current quarterback situation, it appears that jersey isn't going anywhere anytime soon…or ever. However, that's not Pederson’s biggest connection to the current iteration of the Browns franchise.
Before Pederson took over in Jacksonville, he was the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles for five seasons. Pederson’s defensive coordinator during those five seasons in Philly was none other than Jim Schwartz. The coaches will forever be linked together due them winning Super Bowl LII.
This is the chess match inside of the chess match. These two coaches couldn't be more familiar with each other. Having a front-row seat for five years gives them intimate knowledge of how they each operate on gameday. That's just a fraction of their knowledge of each other considering Pederson and Schwartz spent thousands of hours practicing against one another and game planning together.
Sure, both coaches have picked up new wrinkles and adopted schematic variations in the three years since they shared a sideline. But these two know each other inside and out. And while everyone will be focused on the battle taking place between the white lines this Sunday, the real battle will be taking place before each teams leaves their huddle. Can Schwartz checkmate his former boss? Tune in Sunday at 1pm to find out.