With the San Francisco 49ers continuing their search for a defensive coordinator, one name that should be on the short list is Jim Schwartz. A coach who runs a 4-3 base defense, Schwartz makes perfect sense, if the 49ers want to go that route.
One coach that would be an intriguing DC candidate is Jim Schwartz. If #49ers switch to 4-3 base he’s the man for the job.
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) January 21, 2015
A scenario made possible due to the outstanding play of ILB Chris Borland, switching to a 4-3 would easily put the best 11 defensive players on the field.
Schwartz’s defense ranked 4th in NFL last season while also giving up the 4th fewest points per game with a stingy 18.1. — Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) January 21, 2015
And while some Forever Faithful question the team’s current personnel, considering they played a 3-4 base for the past eight seasons, I would argue Schwartz would already have the front seven to make the seamless transition, as many of them played a 4-3 in the past including starters DT Glenn Dorsey, DT Justin Smith, OLB Aldon Smith, OLB Aaron Lynch (assuming Brooks doesn’t return), and SS Antoine Bethea.
Aldon and Lynch both played defensive end in college so it wouldn’t be foreign to them by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, with Schwartz working with Pro Bowl undersized defensive-ends in the past, as he coached up 6-4, 265, DE Jevon Kearse better known as ‘The Freak,’ during his time in Tennessee, you can see where his value lies, as he knows how to get the most out of his players.
Just let that sink in for a second. A front seven which includes two outstanding speed rushers on the outside anchored by one of the best 1-2 punches at defensive tackle, backed up by the best linebacker tandem in the NFL with the Bowman-Willis-Borland trio. Wow!
And with the 49ers secondary needing all the help they can get as the cornerback position is their weakest link, that should help players like second-year DB Jimmie Ward.
Schwartz like Fangio, doesn’t blitz much which means his front four has to make things happen quickly. Luckily for Schwartz he has one of the best pure pass-rushers in the game combined with a very stout defensive line to push the pocket.
Now, the question remains will the 49ers target this defensive mind? Considering that Schwartz loves to use statistical analysis, my guess is that is enough for them to give him an interview as his unorthodox thinking is in-line with GM Trent Baalke and Team President Paraag Marathe’s, somewhat of a Moneyball philosophy.
“If you ask me, Would you rather have a great fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy on Sunday, a guy who can dial up plays and he’d be the best in league, or a guy who is best in the league from Monday to Saturday preparing, I respect the guy who prepares,” Schwartz told The New York Times.
“You’re not always going to be rolling 7, 7, 7 and be hot every week. But if you prepare well during the week, you’ll be consistent from week to week.”
Three-time Pro Bowl DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had great admiration for Schwartz, “This guy is a football coach who motivates players,” Vanden Bosch said, “And he also happens to have a very open mind and interest in statistics.”
With Schwartz out of work, it will be interesting to see if the 49ers will consider him as they already interviewed Eric Mangini.
And if it came down to Mangini or Schwartz, I would rather have Schwartz simply because the stats don’t lie, as he fielded top 10 defenses including ranking 6th in 2004, 1st in 2006, and 4th in 2014.