Bills hire Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo didn't waste any time filling its defensive coordinator vacancy.

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A day after losing Mike Pettine to Cleveland, the Bills filled his void at defensive coordinator, hiring former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.

Schwartz was fired by Detroit following the season. He'll bring plenty of experience to Buffalo, having coached in the NFL for 20 seasons. Of those 20 years, Schwartz spent 13 as either a defensive coordinator or head coach. He ran the Titans' defense for eight seasons, with up-and-down success. Tennessee finished 32nd in yards and 31st in scoring defense in 2006, but rebounded the next year to finish fifth in yards and eighth in points. The Titans had the No. 2 scoring defense in Schwartz's final season.

He ran a 4-3 defensive scheme during his time with Tennessee and Detroit. The Bills mixed schemes last season, utilizing multiple fronts. Buffalo has a mix of defensive players, with some like Mario Williams suited toward a 4-3 and others like outside linebacker Manny Lawson possibly a better fit in a 3-4. Regardless of what scheme he runs, Schwartz will have plenty of talent to work with in Buffalo. Safety Jairus Byrd, Williams and defensive tackles Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams all made the Pro Bowl this season. Rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso finished third in the NFL in tackles, while Stephon Gilmore gives Buffalo a potential No. 1 corner. Byrd will be an unrestricted free agent, but even without him, Buffalo has talent.

Schwartz has utilized a "wide 9" defensive alignment which is designed to put the defensive ends in a pure pass rush role. Jevon Kearse, Jason Babin and Cliff Avril are among the players who excelled in the "wide 9" alignment under Schwartz. If he utilizes the same alignment in Buffalo, Williams figures to see a boost in his pass rush numbers.

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