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Will the Schwartz be With Them?

Will the Schwartz be With Them?

On NBCSports.com, Tom Curren reports that Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is "the frontrunner" to land the job as coach of the Washington Redskins.

According to a "league source", he "blew them away" in today's interview.

I'll admit to not knowing a whole lot about Schwartz, so I immediately embarked on some exhaustive research using advanced technology—in other words, a Google search—to see what I could find out about him.

He's 41 and he's been the Titans' DC since Gregg Williams left to coach the Bills in 2001. He graduated from Georgetown with a degree in economics and spent time in the Browns' personnel department as a scout before getting into coaching.

Schwartz' defense had been among the top 10 in the league on a consistent basis. I came across Peter King's assessment of the job he did in designing a defense to slow down the Colts in a 2006 meeting. It looks like the man knows how to game plan an opponent

Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator, Tennessee. Schwartz, like all the Titans coaches, has been under fire for the awful first month of the Tennessee season. But he was on his game Sunday, the ninth time he's coordinated a Tennessee defense against Peyton Manning. For the first six series of the game, covering 37 minutes, the Colts were kept scoreless by a combination of Schwartz-orchestrated defenses that featured excellent disguises by safeties Lamont Thompson and Chris Hope.

The safeties played a cover-two look most often, staying about 12 yards from the line of scrimmage and not moving till the ball was snapped, preventing Manning from getting a good pre-snap read. The result: Indy got nothing until midway into the third quarter. "I told 'em at halftime not to celebrate because we hadn't won anything yet,'' Schwartz said by phone afterward. "We made a lot of plays today, but it wasn't quite enough.''

Assuming that the report is accurate, it appears that Dan Snyder is at least entertaining the notion of trying to replace Joe Gibbs with a 2008 version of the 1981 Gibbs. And, if you want to take the historic analogies a step further, Williams is now in the role of Richie Petitbon, the loyal defensive lieutenant thought to be the heir apparent. Petitbon, of course, got the gig and crashed and burned after one season.

Right now, my gut feeling is that while it's far from certain that Schwartz will be the man, it's becoming more and more apparent that Williams will not be. It seems that Snyder has studied his stint in Buffalo and for that and other reasons—GW's often-abrasive personality among them—he has decided to go in another direction.

As many have pointed out, Schwartz may well be the front runner by default. As far as we know, this is the first formal interview that the Redskins have conducted.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.