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Will the Schwartz be With Them?

Jan 11, 2008, 3:02 AM EST

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On NBCSports.com, Tom Curren reports that Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is “the frontrunner” to land the job as coach of the Washington Redskins.

According to a “league source”, he “blew them away” in today’s interview.

I’ll admit to not knowing a whole lot about Schwartz, so I immediately embarked on some exhaustive research using advanced technology—in other words, a Google search—to see what I could find out about him.

He’s 41 and he’s been the Titans’ DC since Gregg Williams left to coach the Bills in 2001. He graduated from Georgetown with a degree in economics and spent time in the Browns’ personnel department as a scout before getting into coaching.

Schwartz’ defense had been among the top 10 in the league on a consistent basis. I came across Peter King’s assessment of the job he did in designing a defense to slow down the Colts in a 2006 meeting. It looks like the man knows how to game plan an opponent

Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator, Tennessee. Schwartz, like all the Titans coaches, has been under fire for the awful first month of the Tennessee season. But he was on his game Sunday, the ninth time he’s coordinated a Tennessee defense against Peyton Manning. For the first six series of the game, covering 37 minutes, the Colts were kept scoreless by a combination of Schwartz-orchestrated defenses that featured excellent disguises by safeties Lamont Thompson and Chris Hope.

The safeties played a cover-two look most often, staying about 12 yards from the line of scrimmage and not moving till the ball was snapped, preventing Manning from getting a good pre-snap read. The result: Indy got nothing until midway into the third quarter. “I told ‘em at halftime not to celebrate because we hadn’t won anything yet,” Schwartz said by phone afterward. “We made a lot of plays today, but it wasn’t quite enough.”

Assuming that the report is accurate, it appears that Dan Snyder is at least entertaining the notion of trying to replace Joe Gibbs with a 2008 version of the 1981 Gibbs. And, if you want to take the historic analogies a step further, Williams is now in the role of Richie Petitbon, the loyal defensive lieutenant thought to be the heir apparent. Petitbon, of course, got the gig and crashed and burned after one season.

Right now, my gut feeling is that while it’s far from certain that Schwartz will be the man, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Williams will not be. It seems that Snyder has studied his stint in Buffalo and for that and other reasons—GW’s often-abrasive personality among them—he has decided to go in another direction.

As many have pointed out, Schwartz may well be the front runner by default. As far as we know, this is the first formal interview that the Redskins have conducted.

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