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Browns DC Jim Schwartz named AP 2023 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year 

The architect of the league's top-rated defense in 2023 has been recognized for his handiwork.

Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was named the Associated Press 2023 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year on Thursday night at NFL Honors in Las Vegas.

Schwartz earned 160 points to win the award, ahead of Mike Macdonald (94), formerly the Ravens defensive coordinator and now the Seahawks head coach, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson (65), Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik (53), Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken (46), Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo (16), former Rams defensive coordinator and new Falcons head coach Raheem Morris (six), former Cowboys defensive coordinator and new Commanders head coach Dan Quinn (four), Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores (three), former Buccaneers OC and new Panthers head coach Dave Canales (two) and 49ers DC Steve Wilks (one).

Schwartz's aggressive scheme did wonders for a Browns defense that finished first in the league in yards allowed (270.2 per game), tied for fifth in takeaways (28) and sixth in sacks (49) in 2023. Compared to last year's numbers -- 331.2 YPG, 10 takeaways, 34 sacks -- Schwartz's first year in Cleveland unlocked the potential of a talented Browns defense that disappointed in the recent past.

The Browns boasted one of the toughest defenses to move the chains on in 2023, leading the league in first downs allowed (253), third-down conversion rate (29.1%) and fourth-down conversion rate (40%). Opposing offenses were forced into three-and-outs on 48.6% of total drives against Cleveland, which ranked best in the NFL, per NFL Research. It was the best three-and-out percentage by any team since the 2005 Titans (48.7%), who were also directed by Schwartz.

Cleveland's defensive turnaround was a timely one as it persevered through an injury-plagued season. In the end, the Browns became the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after having four different quarterbacks started multiple regular-season games. Having a steadfast defense that created havoc in the pocket certainly played a role in accomplishing that feat.

Schwartz adds another accolade to a career that includes the Super Bowl ring he won as Eagles DC in 2017. The 57-year-old began his NFL career with the Browns as a personnel scout 30 years ago, and his long, winding road back to Cleveland resulted in another memorable season that ends with him taking home an AP Assistant Coach of the Year honor.

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