Tennessee Titans assistant hired to be the next Cleveland Browns DC

Tennessee Titans (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tennessee Titans (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After interviewing several names, the Cleveland Browns decided that Tennessee Titans’ Senior Defensive Assistant, Jim Schwartz was the best candidate to be their next Defensive Coordinator.

That is going to be important for the Tennessee Titans because Schwartz is probably the second-best coach that Mike Vrabel has ever hired behind Arthur Smith.

It is hard to remember right now, but in 2020 the Tennessee Titans’ offense was dragging the defense to success.

Despite talented players like Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry, Jadeveon Clowney, Kenny Vaccaro, Kevin Byard, Malcolm Butler, David Long, and Kristian Fulton, the defense was pitiful. By the end of the season, they had set the record for being the least effective 3rd down defense in NFL history.

Their mix of soft off-coverage with massive cushions, three-man rushes, and the decision to constantly drop their best pass rusher into coverage, made the defense almost unwatchable.

It isn’t hard to understand why the defense was such a mess though. Going back to the year before, the Tennessee Titans lost their previous DC to retirement. Though Dean Pees would jump back into the NFL in 2021, he walked away in part because Mike Vrabel had decided to call plays in the AFC Championship Game.

After they lost that game, the Tennessee Titans decided to replace Pees with…no one?

Yep, Mike Vrabel decided that it wasn’t important to name a DC which led to an incredible amount of confusion and an utter lack of identity on defense in the nightmare that was 2020.

Following the season, Vrabel said that Shane Bowen had actually been the DC the whole time. With Bowen officially named the DC going forward, it was fair to have a lot of doubts about the 2021 defense.

That was until the Tennessee Titans hired former HC and long-time DC Jim Schwartz to be a “Senior Defensive Assistant” and aid Shane Bowen.

Instant change for the Tennessee Titans defense with Jim Schwartz

There was a lot of change on that 2021 defense, but most importantly the Tennessee Titans’ identity was completely different. Instead of these muddled, three defensive tackle looks with a standup EDGE, the Titans started using a more traditional 4-2-5 look with two EDGEs.

They would use coordinated defensive line stunts in place of blitzes which allowed the defense to double their sack total from the year before while also getting better coverage because they were only rushing four players. Despite record-breaking injury numbers, the Titans finished 2021 as the 5th best-scoring defense and 15th best in 2022.

Now that Schwartz is gone, we are going to find out some things about Shane Bowen as a DC that is truly leading this defense.

Will they continue the scheme that they have been successful with, or was Bowen really the one designating EDGEs to drop into coverage and use ridiculous cushions on the outside? Are they going to continue to use smaller, faster linebackers or will they try to add size at the position? Will they start moving corners to different sides to cover specific receivers, or will they continue to play on their side of the field?

This defense should be one of the most talented defenses in the NFL if they can stay healthy for more than five minutes, so he will have every chance to thrive this year as well. Either way, this continues to look like a season of clarity for Tennessee Titans fans.