A week ago, the Chicago Bears hired Matt Eberflus to be the Defensive Coordinator, and we found out that he was taking our entire defensive coaching staff with him. People started to ask: Why was our defensive coaching staff (minus Brian Baker whose contract expired and, Matt Eberflus, who got promoted) leaving such a talented defensive unit? Will the next candidate come from the Lovie Smith School of Defense? If the Colts change their defensive philosophy, what will it change to? In an attempt to answer these questions, I will address some of our fans’ ideas about Matt Eberflus and his defense. Most fans think Matt Eberflus primarily ran Tampa 2 and the “soft zones” they did… in his early days. The Colts began to run more towards the end of the year was a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3 with match zone concepts. His defense blitzed at a league-low rate which meant they had to disguise coverages on the back-end and disguise pressures on the defensive front. However, his defense did struggle to get home with 4; when they blitzed, it did not work a lot either. That is why this next candidate I am about to mention would make a ton of sense to hire as the new Defensive Coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.
Who is Jim Schwartz? Jim Schwartz is a long-time Defensive Coordinator and is currently a Senior Defensive Assistant for the Tennesee Titans. Jim has been coaching in the NFL for 28 years, half of those years as a Defensive Coordinator. In short, you know what you are getting if you hire Jim Schwartz.
What would the Colts get from Jim Schwartz? Jim Schwartz is famous for using the 4-3 Defensive Alignment, particularly the Wide 9 alignment, which places the pass rushers outside the tackles, similar to how Tony Dungy used Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The purpose is to line a pass rusher way outside the offensive tackle (think Kwity Paye) to give him more space and a better angle to attack the QB. That creates more space for one-on-ones for your 3 Technique DT, who is Deforest Buckner in our case, because the offensive tackle has to move so far away. The Colts would get better pressure than they did previously under Matt Eberflus. You would see some similarities in coverages from a Jim Schwartz defense but much better pressure on the QB than a Matt Eberflus defense.
Why should the Colts hire Jim Schwartz? To me, it is a no-brainer, and I think you have to hire Jim Schwartz. Jim Schwartz has been around for a long time, and you know what you are getting from him, as previously mentioned. He gets the most out of his defensive lines and puts together solid defenses. His last five defensive units ranked by DVOA are 2016 (4th), 2017 (5th), 2018 (15th), 2019 (12th), and 2020 (15th). The Colts have struggled to get to the QB under Frank Reich and Chris Ballard, and it could cost them their jobs if they can not figure it out. Bringing in a guy like Jim Schwartz to develop our young draft picks in Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo while maximizing Deforest Buckner and Grover Stewart would be an excellent move. If the Colts do not hire him as Defensive Coordinator, he should be on the staff in some capacity because he has won a Super Bowl and has tons of experience, which could add a ton of value to the team.