• IDP Impact: Cleveland Browns hire Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator

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    The Cleveland Browns fired defensive coordinator Joe Woods and added Jim Schwartz. What should you expect for IDP fantasy football?

    Cleveland fans rejoiced as the Browns fired 2022 defensive coordinator Joe Woods. The team hired Jim Schwartz to fix up a defense that ranked 25th against the run and had total collapses in pivotal game moments over and over again.

    Schwartz, best known for leading the stout 2017 Eagles defense to a Super Bowl win, now returns to his first defensive coordinator job since leaving Philadelphia. With head coaching experience following a 2009-2013 run with the Detroit Lions, it makes sense for Cleveland to embrace a more experienced coach.

    The 46-year-old Schwartz stepped away from the Eagles in 2020 for personal reasons and spent 2021 and 2022 shoring up a previously pitiful Titans defense. Now, he is seemingly ready to get back on the coordinator horse in the AFC North.

    What Can IDP Players Expect?

    First, Schwartz has some decisions to make. With numerous injuries and sloppy play leading to the league's ugliest game of ring-around-the-Rosie, the linebacker room is a total mess. LBs Anthony Walker (torn quad), Sione Takitaki (ACL), Jordan Kunaszyk (hand), and Deion Jones (average) are all free agents.

    Linebackers also have had mixed bags under Schwartz during his most recent stint as a defensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Over five years, only two of his teams touted a 100+ tackle player (Nigel Bradham in 2016 and Alex Singleton in 2020). The shared usage made for a frustrating tandem, as Schwartz's dominant defensive lines generally offered fewer run-stuffing opportunities for linebackers.

    Jones seems the most likely to return, particularly after the team traded for him. But expect Cleveland to pursue more options in free agency and the draft to pair with Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Philadelphia's T.J. Edwards has some familiarity with Schwartz should the Eagles let him walk.

    Finding a true running mate for Myles Garrett will also be critical. Jadeveon Clowney was mostly a failed experiment. His outburst about his usage will likely seal the end of his time in Cleveland. No player had more than three sacks in 2022, aside from Garrett.

    Between the Eagles and his assistant role with the Titans, Schwartz's defenses have always been strong against the run. That will remain a priority as Cleveland's pass defense was the lone bright spot, allowing less than 200 passing yards a game. If the Browns spend money in free agency, chances are it will be along the defensive line.

    Grant Delpit thrived in a box safety role over the second half of the season. Schwartz could try using him similarly to the Titans, who utilized three-safety sets fairly often between Kevin Byard, Andrew Adams, and Amani Hooker. The Browns already have a good pairing in John Johnson and Byard, and a third safety certainly wouldn't break the bank or cost significant draft capital.

    Free agency will undoubtedly be telling, but Cleveland made a safe call with Schwartz.

    A shortened version of this article first appeared in The IDPGuys Newsletter, which comes out every Wednesday morning straight to your inbox. Click here to sign up!

    Thank you for checking out this article! You can read all of Michael Sicoli's content on his IDP Guys’ author pages. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli, and @IDPGuys (we have offense too). Please check out our website at idpguys.org!

    Michael Sicoli

    A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.
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