When Jim Schwartz met with the Detroit media earlier this week, he provided some hints into his thinking about the Lions. Schwartz addressed all the issues he will be asked about Friday, when he’s introduced as the Lions’ new head coach.
- On the No.1 overall pick: “I think the important thing is finding the right person. I don’t think you tie yourself into positions. Obviously, there’s a lot of needs. I think obviously the most important position on the team is quarterback. It’s probably time to find a replacement for Bobby Layne.”
- On the quarterback position: “Quarterback is the trump card of all positions in the NFL. If you have a good quarterback, you can cover up a lot of other areas on your team. If you don’t have a great quarterback, you have to be really good in a lot of other areas. So I think if you ask anybody in the NFL the most important position, it’s going to be quarterback. … People always ask when there’s a young quarterback, ‘Do you play him right away, or do you let him sit on the bench?’ And the answer is: It depends.”
- On his habit of relying on stats: “I have a degree in economics from Georgetown, so I sort of understand the process a little bit. I think sometimes statistics can be a dirty word in the NFL because the most important thing is winning or losing. What we try to do is try to find out which statistics sort of meant something to winning or losing and gear our approach toward focusing on those areas — things like stopping the run, things like third-down defense. It’s nothing that we use from a game-calling standpoint; it’s more of a preparation standpoint.”
- On what it will take to turn around the Lions: “You build teams to run the football and to stop the run. I know that Ford Field is a great place to play, but I think that when you start a team, particularly in the NFC North, you’ve got to be built for January football, December football, and you’ve got to be big and strong and be able to run and stop the run. You’re going to play an important game in Green Bay in December, or you’re going to play an important game in Chicago in January or in the Meadowlands. I think you need to be built that way.”
- On what he knows about the Lions’ personnel: “We played them this year, obviously, on Thanksgiving. Obviously, some holes in the roster. No different, though, than probably half the teams in the NFL at this time of the year that are evaluating their roster, saying, ‘Hey, we have these top-five needs on offense, these top-five needs on defense.’ I think things that are important are things that Martin [Mayhew] and Tom [Lewand] and I have talked about as far as having a plan and sticking with that plan and building the team from the inside out. I think continuity would be very important.”
- On why this job appeals to him: “I don’t shy away from a challenge, and I think that it’s important in the NFL to have that kind of attitude on yearly basis. Where we were in Tennessee last year was not where we were a few years ago, and one of the best feelings in sports is turning something around. Obviously, the system in the NFL affords us the capability of turning something around.”
- On why he thought the Lions were interested in him: “I’ve been around the NFL for 16 years. I bring a combination of maybe youth and also experience that maybe some people don’t have. The thing that I probably want to come across the most is, I’m passionate about football. I chose to make this my profession. I had other opportunities I could have gone to coming out of Georgetown. But for me to work 100 hours a week, I don’t have a very good work ethic. I do that because I love it, and I’d like that to come across today.”