BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills announced that Jim Schwartz’s contract would be terminated.
Schwartz, who led the Bills defense to be recognized as one of the top defenses in the National Football League, reportedly was asked to stay by new head coach Rex Ryan, but indicated he wouldn’t stay.
Rex Ryan made the announcement Tuesday that the team would indeed be moving in a new direction. That’s part of a large coaching change across the entire Bills staff.
“I have the utmost respect for Jim and what he has been able to accomplish throughout his career and I know he feels the same about me,” Ryan said. “Jim’s defenses are always tough and ranked near the top of the league standings. I wanted to give Jim the opportunity to pursue other opportunities and so we have terminated his contract.”
Early reports from NFL Network reporter Kimberly Jones suggest Dennis Thurman, Ryan’s former defensive coordinator from the New York Jets, would step in and fill the role.
Although it will be moving through the third coaching shakeup in as many years, the Buffalo defense may not be in a sticky situation. While under Mike Pettine, now head coach for the Cleveland Browns and former defensive coordinator for the Bills, the defense reached a formidable level, ranking near the top of the league in sacks.
Before taking the coordinator job with the Bills, Pettine learned much about defense from Ryan while working for the Jets. Ryan and Thurman’s defensive scheme are expected to be familiar.
Although Ryan said Schwartz would be missed, he said he expects the defense to be strong in 2015.
“He did a terrific job with the Bills defense this past year and our plan is for our defense to continue to play well and be a dominating force,” Ryan said.