Eagles Defensive Captains Say Browns Got ‘A Wizard’ In Coordinator Jim Schwartz

Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox joined end Brandon Graham at Super Bowl 57 in endorsing Jim Schwartz as new Browns defensive coordinator. (TheLandOnDemand)

Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox joined end Brandon Graham at Super Bowl 57 in endorsing Jim Schwartz as new Browns defensive coordinator. (TheLandOnDemand)

Eagles defensive captains say Browns got ‘a wizard’ in coordinator Jim Schwartz

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.


Two of the most respected defensive players on the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles’ defense touted Jim Schwartz as the right coach to bring out the best in the Browns.

End Brandon Graham and tackle Fletcher Cox – Philadelphia’s defensive captains -- played for Schwartz when the Eagles soared to the Super Bowl championship after the 2017 season.

In his second season as then-coach Doug Pederson’s defensive coordinator, Schwartz directed a unit ranked fourth in yards and fourth in scoring. They had been no better than 28th in yards and 17th  in scoring in the three years prior to Schwartz arriving in 2016.

Schwartz was named by Browns coach Kevin Stefanski to replace Joe Woods last month.

“They’re getting a wizard,” Graham said. “I love Jim. Jim is smart. He don’t care about having friends or not. He just wants to do his job. He’ll win at all costs. I think they got them a good coach, a right coach, somebody that can definitely help the locker room.”

One of the major criticisms of the Browns in three years under Woods was a lack of accountability. Players who missed assignments or were responsible for miscommunication breakdowns seemingly weren’t held accountable, leading to mistakes being repeated.

It doesn’t sound like that will happen under Schwartz.

“There will be days he’s gonna call you out,” Cox said. “Have I been called out before? Yes. Has BG (Graham) been called out before? Yes. You need coaching like that.”

Graham said, “That’s what I love about him the most. He holds you accountable. He makes sure you know what you’re doing out there. He’s gonna make sure you play hard.”

Graham said that Schwartz played a key role at “crucial” times in his NFL career.

Coming out of Michigan in 2010, Graham was projected as a late first- to middle second-round pick in the draft despite being a two-time defensive MVP at Michigan. Schwartz was the Detroit Lions head coach at the time and coached Graham’s squad in the Senior Bowl. After a week of practices, Graham was named MVP of the Senior Bowl.

“I felt that helped solidify me as a first-round pick. Coach [Andy Reid] traded up and got me [with the 13th overall draft pick],” Graham said.

“Then there was a crucial time in my career when [former Eagles coach] Chip Kelly left with the 3-4 defense and we came back to [coach] Doug [Pederson] and he hired Jim Schwartz and brought in the 4-3 defense. I started balling and haven’t looked back. Yes, I’ve had great coaches and great people at crucial times. You’all got a good one.”

Schwartz will run the same defensive line-friendly, 4-3 scheme with the Browns that he ran with the Eagles, Lions, Bills and Titans over the past 20 years.

“He’s gonna bring the energy,” Cox said. “He’s gonna get the best out of you, no matter who you are, no matter how much money you make. He wants the best out of you.”

Graham said that he has communicated with Schwartz, and he knows the combination of Myles Garrett and a talented cornerback group has Schwartz enthused about returning to the position of coordinator after a health setback caused him to leave the Eagles after the 2020 season. Schwartz spent the last two years in a part-time consulting capacity with the Tennessee Titans under coach Mike Vrabel.

“He’s got some corners already. I know he’s excited about the defense. They’re definitely gonna play hard for him,” Graham said.

“He’s gonna come in and he wants a smart team. That’s what I love. Myles is definitely going to benefit because he definitely wants Myles to have sacks. He’s gonna help Myles get as many one on ones as he can.

“I couldn’t say enough great things about Coach Schwartz.”