Schwartz, 47, will enter his 21st year in the NFL coaching ranks and ninth as a defensive coordinator. He served in the same capacity with the Tennessee Titans from 2001-08 overseeing a defense that finished in the top 10 in both rushing yards allowed per game (5th-103.5) and third down conversion rate (6th-36.1%) during his tenure.
|BILLS NAME DOWNING QUARTERBACKS COACH
Orchard Park, NY – The Buffalo Bills today announced that Todd Downing has agreed to terms to become the team’s quarterbacks coach.
Downing, 33, will enter his 12th year in the NFL coaching ranks and fourth as a quarterbacks coach. He served in the same capacity with the Detroit Lions from 2011-13 helping Lions QB Matthew Stafford become the Lions’ franchise leading passer (17,457 career passing yards) in 2013.
Downing has worked with two quarterbacks on the Bills’ current roster – Thad Lewis in 2013 with Detroit and EJ Manuel during the 2013 Senior Bowl.
“Todd Downing is a bright and energetic coach. He is familiar with our personnel at the quarterback position and he will play a key role in the development of all of the quarterbacks on the Bills’ roster,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone. “He played a pivotal role in the development of Detroit’s quarterbacks during his tenure – most notably Matthew Stafford, the franchise’s all-time leading passer. Downing will be a valuable addition to our offensive coaching staff.”
In Downing’s first two seasons (2011-12) as the Lions’ QB coach, Stafford tallied 10,005 passing yards which ranks as the fourth most passing yards in NFL history over a two-year span. Under Downing’s tutelage, Stafford set Detroit single season franchise records for passing yards (5,038) and touchdowns (41) in 2011. Stafford also set single season franchise records for completions (435) and pass attempts (272) in 2012.
Downing joined Detroit in 2009 as an offensive quality control coach before being promoted to the role of assistant quarterbacks coach in 2010.
Downing originally entered the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, spending three years on the Vikings coaching staff as the offensive quality control coach (2005) and football systems analyst (2003-04), helping the Vikings become a top-five offense in three consecutive seasons and a playoff appearance in 2004. After leaving the Vikings, Downing worked with the St. Louis Rams as a defensive assistant/assistant special teams coach (2006-07) before being promoted to the role of assistant secondary/defensive quality control coach (2008).
Prior to entering the NFL ranks, Downing began his coaching career with Eden Prairie High School in Minneapolis (1999-2000). In 2000, he helped his alma mater to the Minnesota Class 5-A state title.
Hired in 2009 as the Detroit Lions head coach, Schwartz led Detroit to a 10-6 record in 2011 en route to the team’s first playoff appearance since 1999.
“We are excited to add a talented and accomplished coordinator in Jim Schwartz to our staff,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone. “Schwartz has led aggressive and productive defensive units throughout his time in the NFL and we feel our defense will continue to improve under his leadership.”
Schwartz instilled an aggressive style of defense as the head coach of the Lions, leading the 2011 version of the Detroit defense to 34 takeaways (third in the NFL) and a franchise record seven defensive touchdowns. Schwartz also led the Lions’ pass rush to a dramatic improvement in 2010, registering 44 sacks (sixth in the NFL) compared to just 30 in 2009.
Under Schwartz’s guidance, Lions’ DT Ndamukong Suh was named to the Pro Bowl in three of his first four seasons in addition to earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro honors in 2010.
During his tenure as the Titans’ defensive coordinator, Schwartz’s defenses continually ranked amongst the league’s best—finishing in the top 10 in total defense three times in addition to the Tennessee rushing defense tallying five top-10 finishes. Schwartz also played a key role in helping seven Titans defenders earn Pro Bowl honors during his time with Tennessee.
In 2003, Schwartz oversaw the league’s top rushing defense as the Titans allowed just 80.9 yards per game to opposing rushers. The performance marked just the second time in franchise history that Tennessee finished atop the league’s rushing defense rankings.
Prior to being named the Titans’ defensive coordinator, Schwartz worked for Tennessee in multiple capacities including as the linebackers/third down package coach in 2000 and as a defensive assistant in 1999.
Schwartz started his NFL career as a college and pro scout with the Cleveland Browns from 1993-96 under head coach Bill Belichick before making the switch to coaching in 1996 as a defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens.
Before making the jump to the NFL, Schwartz worked on the college level for four years. He began his career as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Maryland, working with the Terrapins’ linebackers from 1989-90 and then served as graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota (1990-91). He became a position coach with the secondary at North Carolina Central (1991-92) before moving to Colgate (1992) as linebackers coach.