The Cleveland Browns hired Jim Schwartz as their new defensive coordinator on Tuesday, which could unlock a “scary” new level of Myles Garrett’s game.
Schwartz will replace Joe Woods as the defensive coordinator in Cleveland. The Browns let Woods go a day after the season ended, with inconsistency plaguing the unit for the majority of his tenure.
The Browns will likely stay in a 4-3 scheme under Schwartz, who has a history of being able to put his stars upfront in the best positions to make plays. Former Browns defensive lineman Robaire Smith believes Schwartz’s presence will help Garrett immensely.
“He is definitely going to love this a little more,” Smith, who played for Schwartz in Tennessee, told the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m assuming they’re probably going to stay in the 4-3 of some sort. With (Garrett) out there, man, I don’t think no one’s going to be able to block him away the way Jim lets him go. You know what I mean? So I think with the scheme, if Jim running his scheme, woo, I dunno, it could get scary man, get very scary.”
That’s bad news for quarterbacks around the league, considering Garrett has already established himself as an All-Pro presence on the edge. He’s notched double-digit sacks in every year but his rookie season, when he played just 11 games. He’s coming off back-to-back 16-sack seasons, which is the Browns’ single-season record.
Finding Garrett Pass-Rush Partner Will by Key For Browns
The Browns have done their best to provide Garrett with a capable threat on the opposite side throughout his career. Olivier Vernon filled that role for some time but for the past two seasons, its been former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
However, Clowney is a free agent and it’s highly unlikely he’ll return after a late-season rant took aim at the franchise and Garrett.
“You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning,” Clowney told Cleveland.com. “Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am.”
Clowney recently apologized for the statement but he’s burned his bridge with the Browns. With Clowney out of the picture, the Browns will have to find someone who opposing offenses still need to respect. Cleveland also has some significant work to do to upgrade the defensive tackle position.
“That is certainly a position group that we do value and we will continue to value, no different than the offensive line on the offensive side of the ball,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in his season-ending press conference. “We will continue to invest in it and make those decisions at the appropriate time.”
Garrett Said He Was Ready to ‘Roll With the Punches’
It was an interesting season for Garrett. He got banged up in a single-car crash early in the year and battled through injury to stay on the field. He still managed to rack up sacks but the Browns finishing 7-10 left a sour taste in his mouth.
Garrett said he’d give his opinion on the next defensive coordinator if the Browns asked but he wasn’t too worried about it.
“I’m always ready to roll with the punches,” Garrett said on January 8. “I have no idea what the future will look like, and that’s above my pay grade and I don’t make those kind of decisions. So … I’m trying to do my best to recover in the offseason and be ready when the time calls.”
The Browns finished 20th in points per game allowed (22.4) and 14th in yards allowed (331.2). The hiring of Schwartz should bring a renewed sense of optimism heading into what is a crucial year for the franchise.