Jim Schwartz hire named as Cleveland Browns smartest offseason decision

Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

We're still a long way from the start of the 2023 NFL Season but the Cleveland Browns have been getting positive reviews for the work they've done in preparation for the new campaign. Most of the focus has been on their recent additions, which include Dalvin Tomlinson, Elijah Moore, and Juan Thornhill.

They could still look to add more players, especially on the defensive line, but even if they head into the draft with their roster as it currently stands, they'll be in great shape to draft the best player available.

With the player additions taking center stage, it's easy to forget the Browns also made some huge moves with their coaching staff. They decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Joe Woods as well as special teams coach Mike Priefer. Replacing them will be Jim Schwartz and Bubba Ventrone, respectively, and those hires have also been praised.

In fact, the decision to bring in Schwartz to fix their defense was recently called their smartest move of the offseason by Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report. Knox pointed out that Cleveland has struggled to get back to the postseason, thanks in large part to their porous run defense, which he thinks Schwartz will correct.

"Since winning a playoff game in the 2020 season—the franchise's first playoff win since it returned to the NFL in 1999—the Cleveland Browns have gone backward. They won only eight games in 2021 and seven games in 2022. Run defense was Cleveland's biggest problem area this past season. The Browns ranked 25th in both rushing yards allowed and yards per carry (4.7) surrendered."

Knox, Bleacher Report

Schwartz has had a lot of success as a defensive coach, including helping the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl in 2017. He also checks off all boxes with a no-nonsense approach as well as a fondness for analytics (sorry for those who hate the 'A-word' but it's true).

But what really matters is the fact that he now has better players to utilize in his scheme. While Woods didn't get the job done, it's also fair to say the players he had weren't up to par. Of course, he has a hand in that as well, since they targeted guys who fit his scheme, but even Schwartz wasn't doing much with the defensive tackles that were on the roster before free agency opened up.

Cleveland does deserve praise for the hire and Schwartz coming in does seem to be their smartest move of the offseason, but the reason it should work is that they continued to make smart moves even after that one.

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