Jim Schwartz wants to help Myles Garrett find some solutions when opposing offensive coaches ask the same question to themselves every week:
"How do we keep him from wrecking this game?"
Garrett faced a constant barrage of double-teams and chips last season, yet he still managed to record 16 sacks, which matched the single-season franchise record he set in 2021.
But as Schwartz, who was hired by the Browns on Wednesday as their next defensive coordinator, begins to dive into ways the Browns defense can improve in 2023, he knows the key to unleashing the defense's full potential is to maximize all the talents Garrett brings off the edge.
"The way you affect the game the most in this league is through pass rush," Schwartz said. "We're going to put a lot of emphasis on pass rush. We'll set the bar high at the position."
Unleashing the top talent on a defensive line is how Schwartz has built his coaching career, one that'll reach its 30th season this year.
During his last stint as a defensive coordinator with the Eagles from 2016-20, Schwartz's defensive line ranked seventh in the league across five seasons with 208 sacks. Prior to Philadelphia, he had three players tally double-digit sacks when he was the defensive coordinator in 2014 with the Bills. Four-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Mario Williams, for instance, set a career high 14.5 sacks and thrived in Schwartz's defense, which specializes in playing edge rushers further on the outside shoulder of tackles or tight ends.
The positioning, known as the "Wide 9" technique, allows edge rushers to utilize more space and creativity to rush the quarterback.
Schwartz didn't dive into the specific formations he has in mind to elevate Garrett and the rest of the defensive line next season, but his history suggests the D-Line will mirror that strategy in 2023.
No matter the formation, Schwartz knows the top necessity for the defense is to give Garrett as many chances as possible to take down the quarterback.
"It's my job to give him some answers and to be able to give him some pieces, scheme-wise and personnel-wise, around him to allow him to be free and more productive," Schwartz said. "The bar is set really high for a good reason.
"We're going to work real hard at it, and he's going to play his part."
Check out photos of Jim Schwartz speaking with the media after he was named the Browns' new defensive coordinator.
Back where it all started
Schwartz spent the first several minutes of his press conference reminiscing about his memories from the time he was a personnel scout for the Browns, led by then-head coach Bill Belichick, from 1993-95.
Starting as an unpaid intern, Schwartz's responsibilities included a variety of non-football jobs that included buying cigarettes for secretaries, driving people to the airport and filing papers. The hours were long, but they were also full of chances for Schwartz to listen to one of the greatest minds of the sport in Belichick. Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, Al Groh and Eric Mangini — all future NFL or college coaches — were on the staff as well.
"I got a Ph.D. in 'Football-ology' from the Browns and from Bill Belichick, and it was just awesome," Schwartz said. "I was mainly in scouting, but we wore a lot of different hats. As long as you had a good work ethic, you were willing to learn and you could keep your mouth shut, you could learn an awful lot — and I was pretty good at all three of those things."
Those lessons led Schwartz on a career that featured three previous stints as a defensive coordinator, a job as a head coach and winning a Super Bowl ring as the defensive coordinator with the Eagles in 2018.
Now, he's back where it all began, and he attributes what's been a successful 30-year career in the NFL to those arduous days in Cleveland.
"It all went back to the years I spent in this building," he said.
A desire to 'reward' the fans
As Schwartz's press conference came to a close, he wanted to make sure he left the podium with one final point about why he was drawn to take the Browns' defensive coordinator job: the fans.
"To be back among the passionate fans in the Midwest, you want to coach where the fans are passionate," Schwartz said. "Philadelphia, OK, check, we had that. Detroit, Buffalo, Tennessee, so you embrace that part of it. I think that's an important part of our process and an important part of what the organization goes through.
"I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to the fans here to get this right and to reward them."