NASHVILLE – The Titans added veteran Jim Schwartz to the coaching staff as senior defensive assistant earlier this month.
On Thursday, during a live event for season ticket members on TennesseeTitans.com, Vrabel discussed the addition of Schwartz while further addressing his role with the team.
Vrabel also provided some insight on how the pairing came together. Schwartz has 14 years of experience as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, including eight years (2001-08) with the Titans.
"Jim is somebody that I've known," Vrabel said. "It's funny, as we went through our conversations, he was basically a quality control coach for Bill Belichick (with the Browns), and I spent eight years with Bill as a player (with the Patriots). We talked somewhat essentially the same language. So, this process was something we talked about since he finished up contractually with Philadelphia. It worked out and I think it works for everybody with what he is willing to do at this point and time and what we'd like to have him do, and help us out. He is local here, he loves the Titans, and he was excited about coming on board and trying to help us in any way that he could just like everybody else in our organization."
Earlier this offseason, Vrabel promoted Shane Bowen to defensive coordinator, and he's expected to call plays once again in 2021 after doing so as outside linebackers coach last season.
Schwartz will be a resource for Bowen, and the defensive staff.
When asked about what role Schwartz could have, Vrabel said he'll help the team.
"I think what his role is, it's just like everybody else: To help the team, to help us win," Vrabel said of Schwartz. "No job is too small for any of us, and I am confident that is what he'll do. As he works his way into what we are doing, it has been good to see him meeting with different guys and meeting with the defense and meeting with me.
"I would imagine that maybe he would look at players for the draft, as we get down here and we get a different set of eyes, a guy that has been around the league for a lot of years and has been successful."
Schwartz joins the Titans after spending five seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles (2016-20). Overall, during his five seasons with the Eagles, the defense ranked third in third down defense (35.9%), sixth in red zone defense (52.7%), third in rushing defense (99.1 yards per game) and seventh in sacks (208). In 2020, the Eagles defense ranked third in the NFL in sacks with 49, and in 2019, the team led the NFL in three-and-out drives (27.5%). In Philadelphia's Super Bowl winning season (2017), he guided the Eagles to the league's best rushing defense (79.2 yards allowed), the third best third-down defense (32.2%) and the fourth best takeaway total (31).
In his one season as defensive coordinator for Buffalo in 2014, the Bills recorded an NFL-best 54 sacks. Schwartz spent five seasons (2009-13) as the head coach at Detroit, guiding a team that was winless in the season prior to his arrival to a playoff berth in year three.
Schwartz spent 10 years (1999-2008) with the Titans as a coach under Jeff Fisher. In his final season (2008) with Tennessee, the defense ranked third in points allowed (14.2), second in passing yards allowed (161.0) and fifth in sacks (44). During his Titans tenure as defensive coordinator, the defense ranked fifth in rushing yards allowed (103.5) and sixth in third-down defense (36.1%) over the eight-year period. He originally joined the Titans after three seasons (1996-98) with the Baltimore Ravens and four seasons in the college coaching ranks.
When the Titans announced the Schwartz hiring earlier this month, Vrabel released the following statement:
"We are excited to add Jim to our staff. He has a deep level of football knowledge and has overseen a great deal of success on the defensive side of the ball, so it is always good to add a quality coach to our staff. This role will provide our defensive staff with Jim's experience and perspective in the staff meetings and on the practice field."
During Vrabel's zoom appearance on Thursday with General Manager Jon Robinson that was hosted by Vice President of Broadcasting Mike Keith, Vrabel was asked by a season ticket member about Schwartz and his experience running a 4-3, and whether new outside linebacker Bud Dupree could be used in a number of ways on defense.
Vrabel said defense will continue to use multiple looks.
"We're excited about Jim and the defensive knowledge and the football knowledge that he can bring," Vrabel said. "We play multiple fronts, so that is nothing new. We've had five guys at the line of scrimmage, we've had four. That's not something that we haven't done."