Mel Brooks’ fans must be loving life right now. The 96-year-old is going strong with “History of the World, Part 2” set to air on Hulu this year. His famous line, “May the Schwartz, be with you” from “Spaceballs: The Movie” keeps on getting dropped on sports radio over and over.
The Cleveland Browns are moving forward on defense. After letting defensive coordinator Joe Woods go last week, the Browns will change direction with Jim Schwartz as the new defensive coordinator. “The Schwartz” is now with us. I know wideout Anthony Schwartz is still on the roster, but the new Schwartz’s impact should be much bigger.
Schwartz was with the Browns from 1993 to 1995 in his first professional job as a scout under former coach Bill Belichick. Since then, he’s been with the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles in different defensive roles. He was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009 to 2013. His resume was by far the most experienced of any candidate the Browns reportedly had on their radar.
Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was considered to be the other top candidate for the defensive coordinator position. Earlier this week, he was being mentioned to be a strong candidate to get the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job.
From all accounts, Schwartz brings qualities the defense seems to be missing. Starting with a passionate attitude that was appreciated in other cities. He will stick with the 4-3 defense the team has been built on, but he has work to do. The only defensive lineman he can count on right now is Myles Garrett. The linebacker corps needs to be upgraded. And the defensive backs are the strength of the defense, but there are holes.
Stories about Woods not having great communication skills with his players really emerged with the exit of Jadeveon Clowney.
Clowney’s credibility is in question after he released a statement saying that his words about the franchise were taken out of context. He told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that he was 95% gone next season, but could stay because coaching changes were coming. He also was quoted that it seemed like the team was more worried about getting Myles Garrett to the hall of fame over winning.
Clowney backtracked on his comments on social media. Cabot was asked before Clowney reversed course about the interview on 92.3 The Fan and Cabot said she asked Clowney if he wanted his quotes to be as strong as they were. At one point during the interview, he said running back D’Ernest Johnson cut in and asked Clowney if he really wanted his thoughts on the record and he kept going. Clowney was sent home and was inactive for the last game of the year at Pittsburgh.
Fans will wonder if Schwartz is the team’s plan “B” for head coach should head coach Kevin Stefanski get off to a slow start next year. Logic says if Stefanski were to be fired, it means that Schwartz’s defense was not working. It does give Stefanski an extra place to gain knowledge during the game. I hope that we are not talking about a coaching change next season.
We have seen enough change. I hope this fix in the coaching staff works out for the best. Fans deserve better. Owners, players, coaches may come and go, but fans are in it for the long haul. This team needs to make the playoffs next season. No more excuses.
Solon rec plan intriguing
There is an interesting buzz in Solon to step up the city’s game for recreational facilities. I will never tell anybody how to spend their money or how a community should be run but I am intrigued to see where this goes.
In December, Solon laid out a 96-page plan for the future of its parks and recreation. It’s impressive. Playgrounds, pickleball, basketball, turf diamonds, batting cages, new press box, hook-ups for food trucks, hiking trails, soccer, new pool, dog parks, bocce, skate parks, you name it. Planners did a good job thinking about it. The proposal is even more expansive and is available on the city’s website at solonohio.org.
Solon does a great job hosting baseball and softball tournaments, and soccer all summer. It’s hard not to notice the work being done by Solon Recreation Department if you drive on SOM Center Road. Even if you don’t live in Solon, the traffic that drives by can see what is going on. It is a window on the city.
In the proposal, there are a few lines about an outdoor ice rink. Solon City Council heard about the ice rink Jan. 17 to consider changing the game plan and create an indoor ice rink.
Solon is still a growing community and the idea of an indoor ice rink is a very interesting one. I’m not a huge fan of outdoor rinks in our area because the weather is the biggest factor, making it really hard to plan regular use of those facilities.
Cleveland Heights has two indoor ice rinks and has not reopened the older, smaller rink since the COVID-19 pandemic. And the world-class larger rink has been dealing with structural issues since a freeze a few weeks back.
This could be a good time to build an indoor ice rink but, after the final punch list is complete, indoor ice rinks can be very expensive to maintain.
The petition for an indoor ice rink is also worth the read at change.org.
Good luck to Solon. The game plan is in place and I have my popcorn in place to see what happens next.
If you have a suggestion for a column idea for Andy Baskin, send him an email at email@example.com. He can be heard on “Baskin & Phelps” weekdays on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland at audacy.com.