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Thursday, January 15, 2009
Fisher now needs a defensive coordinator


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Jim Schwartz is taking over in Detroit. Jeff Fisher is in the market for a defensive coordinator. Gregg Williams just joined the Saints.

 
  Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire
  Jim Schwartz spent eight seasons as defensive coordinator in Nashville.

I expect Fisher to promote secondary coach Chuck Cecil or linebackers coach Dave McGinnis, then hire a new position coach. If Cecil gets promoted, Fisher could promote assistant secondary coach Marcus Robertson to Cecil's old spot and then have room to hire an extra assistant in the defensive backfield, or where he sees fit.

It will be difficult for Schwartz to take many friends from Fisher's staff with him. Young defensive assistant Matt Burke could have a good opportunity. Robertson could get an offer. But like the rest of the staff, those guys have a lot of loyalty to Fisher and a lot of security as part of his staff.

He's got an economics degree from Georgetown and is good with stats and trends. I wrote a piece about his ties to "Moneyball" thinking for football back when I was at The Tennessean. (No archive link to be found, sorry.) But it's a mistake to cast him as strictly a stat guy, or as someone who's more about numbers than people.

Schwartz is a bright guy who can do well. With the big office comes more scrutiny. I think he'll need to work to make sure people don't think he thinks he's the smartest guy in the room, even though he might be. I think he will have to shrug off criticisms and not take things personally. I think he needs to hire a couple of assistants who are fiery guys, because while he's intense, he's probably not a motivator in that sense.

He will put people in position to succeed and he will explain why that's the right spot to be. I don't think he takes the job if he doesn't feel like he's been given enough leeway and power to turn things around.

One Detroit writer said recently that smart is a good direction for the Lions, as they've been anything but for a long time.

They got their guy.

I join the Titans in wishing him well

[Updated 6:04 p.m.]

Jeff Fisher's statement:

"It is rare in this league to get to spend 10 years with an assistant coach as we have with Jim. In his eight years as our defensive coordinator, Jim has clearly put his stamp on that side of the ball. He is competitive, a tremendous communicator and motivator and in our opinion he has been ready for this next step for several years. I want to congratulate the Lions for hiring the right guy and he will be missed here in Tennessee.

As for our next defensive coordinator, we will take our time as far as replacing Jim, but that process has already begun."