From what I understand and know about Schwartz...he doesnt have a history of doing the things that Mike Pettine did when he was here last season...
Here's my concern:
I dont think its a match. While Mike Pettine utilized a lot of unconventional methods and different looks and blitz packages....that has not been the forte of Jim Schwartz going back to Detroit and his days in Tennessee and the only time Schwartz's defenses were extremely effective (meaning top 5 elite) was when he had a dominating Albert Haynesworth whom people forget how great he was when he was on. He ate offensive lineman for snacks when he was there and ironically when he was in his contract years. Funny how that happens And in Detroit, he didnt call the Defensive plays but used a lot of the same wide 9 schemes with Gunther Cunningham as his DC, his defenses were largely marginal. They did have a couple years where they got to the QB a lot, but the Detroit had some tremendous talent on the Defensive Line while he was there, probably even more than what Buffalo has.
Historically speaking his defenses rely a lot on the front four to get pressure. In Detroit, they relied a lot on the likes of Suh, Fairley, Avril, Vanden Bosch and eventually his replacement Zeke Ansah to generate pressure and with the Titans. Haynesworth was the peice who made that D work and helped free up the likes of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom to do more.
Those teams were also deeper on the D-line and had the ability to rotate players. In Buffalo there is a huge drop off after Williams and Dareus inside, and at Defensive End, there is a huge drop off after Mario Williams in terms of pass rush ability....there was not a lot of production from the depth and rotational players on the Bills, and does anyone even know what is the depth on the D line? Who backs up the Bills Big 3 of Mario, Dareus and Kyle Williams? Alan Branch is the 4th D-lineman and there is No way I can see Branch being a fit in a traditional 4-3. And the other issue is the linebackers.
Pettine utilized a lot of exotic looks and also put players on this defense in spots to succeed, particularly the linebackers. The Bills had one of the most unique LB corps in the NFL last season... all big, all athletic and Lawson and definetly Jerry Hughes were especially adept at rushing the passer and blizting. But those 3 guys are likely not a fit in a more traditional 4-3 defense or even a wide 9 for that matter, but I dont think Schwartz is bringing the wide 9 here.
However if he was to bring that scheme here, they could have Jerry Hughes or Manny Lawson be the 4th D-Lineman and put his hand down, but all that will do is create a hole and a problem. Then we would need a new Outside linebacker and maybe even a new inside linebacker to move Kiko to outside if the Bills determined in a more traditional 4-3 Kiko would be a better fit outside.
The Bills might have to do all those things anyways wide 9 or not. For a tradtional 4-3, there are a few of guys whom are out of place like the entire Linebacker core and possibly Alan Branch. The Bills will need to consider signing a DE, and maybe another Linebacker or 2 this offseason especially to help in run support.
That approach of using a traditional 4-3 didnt work with Wannstedt and even if Schwartz blitzed more, and was more unpredictable than Wannstedt, which he likely would be, I still think the defense take a step back next year. Plus in terms of talent, I dont think the Bills have anything even close to a Suh or a Haynesworth on the D-Line,. ....not on a consistent basis anyways...maybe if Mario Williams feels like playing they do? Dareus and Kyle Williams are great pass rushing tackles but are both average against the run, and are not the dominant complete players that a Suh or a Haynesworth (with Tennensee in his last 2 yrs) describe
Ironically enough....the first season Jim Schwartz took over for Gregg Williams , the Defense went from first in the NFL to 25th and allowed close to 400 points.....nearly doubling their points allowed.....with basically the same personel except what I noticed in that transition year Schwartz took over was that there was no blitzing of the linebackers or the DB's in that transition year....not effectively anyways. In 2000 under Gregg Williams, the Titans recored 55 sacks....17 of which came from the back 7 while under Schwartz in 2001, the sacks decreased to 32 sacks and 8 of which came from the back 7. Blaine Bishop, Eddie Robinson, Randall Godfey, etc were not sent as much in blitz packages under Schwartz the way Gregg Williams did.
:However the defense in Tennensee was greatly improved in years 2 and 3, but they were not as good as the Gregg Williams led defenses finishing 11th in '02 and 13th in '03. So in a brief Timeline of Schwartz's defenses after 2003, things went down hill in Tennensee, mainly due in part to the departure of "The Freak" Jevon Kearse which was a huge blow to the Titans. Does anyone remember that offseason when people wanted him to come to Buffalo and reunite him with Gregg Williams? Time Flies. They finished that 2004 season in Tennensee 12-4, but virtually every game was a shootout because the defense ended up surrendering a ton of points.
2005, '06, saw Tennensee finish 25th and 31st respectively, and then buy 2007 and 2008 Tennensee had the # 8 and #2 defense in Football again.
Of course that was over 14 years ago now and time flies....im sure Schwartz has learned a few things over that time, but I dont have reason to believe in his track record and especially with what was taken with him to Detroit and how mediocre their defenses were, that he will be able to have the Same success here he had in his final 2 years in Tennensee.
I only wish for the best, but I just dont think that this hire is a match, nor is Schwartz the right Defense