Eagles hire Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator

Jim Schwartz will return to the sidelines in 2016.

The Philadelphia Eagles have hired Schwartz as defensive coordinator, new coach Doug Pederson announced during Tuesday's news conference.

Schwartz spent 2015 as a consultant with the NFL's officiating department after coordinating the Buffalo Bills to an NFL-best 54 sacks in 2014.

Schwartz also interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars for their open defensive coordinator position.

Schwartz, 49, led the Detroit Lions for five seasons as head coach from 2009-2013 after eight years as the Tennessee Titans' defensive coordinator.

Bringing on an experienced defensive coach like Schwartz is a boon for a first-time head coach like Pederson. From 2001-2014, Schwartz led defenses that ranked in the top 10 in overall D four times, including the past three seasons in which he was solely a defensive coordinator. In 2014, the Bills ranked No. 4 in yards per game, 11th against the run, third against the pass and fourth in points.

The Eagles' defense in 2015 was an enigma. After starting out strong, Philly's defensive play disintegrated down the stretch and ended ranked 30th in total yards per game (401.6) and 28th in points per game allowed (26.9).

Under Schwartz, the Eagles might move to a 4-3 base defense, which he's employed in all of his stops as a coordinator. But the coach said he doesn't want to "force feed a scheme" on Tuesday, per the Delaware News Journal.

If the Eagles do decide to go to a 4-3 defense, the switch should improve Philadelphia's defensive front. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Fletcher Cox will continue to flourish in Schwartz's penetrating system and players like Brandon Graham should see an uptick in production as pass rushers.

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