Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz

Friday, October 3, 2014

With some of the injuries you’ve had at the linebacker position, how much has Preston Brown’s versatility help keep that situation manageable?

A: He’s really been outstanding since we drafted him. Go back to OTAs, minicamp, training camp and he’s played Mike, he’s played outside linebacker. He’s played at a high level. He’s been good against the run and the pass. With losing Kiko [Alonso] coming in, I don’t think we could be where we are right now without Preston.

Q: Are you satisfied with what you’ve gotten from your guys in run defense?

A: We’re 2-2. That’s the only thing you can talk about. We need to make one more play. In our two losses, we’re a play away from putting our offense in a position to win. We’ve just got to find a way to make one more third down stop, make one more red zone stop or give up one less big play. The standard is high and we have to be able to live up to it.

Q: What was your thought process when you reviewed what the rush defense had done last year?

A: Run defense sets up a lot of different things. Generally, the teams that are best in the red zone are teams that can stop the run or run the ball well. Third down percentage has a lot to do with it. You want to keep them in third down and long situations. I think that certainly plays a part of it. Last year, this defense made a lot of big plays; a lot of sacks and turnovers and things like that. We just needed to be able to play some of the other plays better. We’ve still been able to get the turnovers, but it hasn’t been at the expense of the run defense.

Q: How helpful was it to have your thorough knowledge of what the Lions are all about when preparing for this game?

A: I think that’s probably overplayed because they have a new scheme on offense and defense. There’s completely new terminology and new coaches and things like that. There are some position coaches that are left.

Q: But you know the players. You know some of the ins-and-outs?

A: We know the players every week. I mean, that’s what we’re paid to do. We have scouts and we know the league. You try to accentuate the positives of your guys, try to minimize the negatives of your guys and you try to exploit the weaknesses of opponents. That doesn’t change this week as opposed to last week or any other week.

Q: What do you think of Matthew Stafford as a quarterback? Has he changed or improved since you last saw him?

A: He’s the quarterback of a 3-1 team and, like I said, I assess our defense on [the fact] that we’re 2-2 right now. I assess his quarterback play as he’s 3-1. He has the arm to be able to make any throw that he wants to be able to make. He’s scrambling more this year. I think probably the biggest difference is that he’s taking more sacks, but he’s also scrambled more. We’ve faced some outstanding quarterbacks this year. It started with Cutler then Philip Rivers. We’ve faced similar quarterbacks and we’re going to play to our very best to get a win.

Q: Do you point to him extending plays as the reason their 3rd down percentage is so high?

A: No, it’s not extending plays. They’re percentage on third downs comes from third and two to six. They’re almost 80 percent in those areas. They’re really efficient. The ball is coming out quick. He’s always been a quick trigger guy. The ball is coming out fast and they’re keeping the chains alive. They’re 50 percent on third downs. That number drops significantly when they get over seven yards. We talked a little bit about run defense; that’s the job of our run defense to put them in some third down and long calls to give time for Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus to get home to the quarterback in those situations.

Q: How do you adjust to Nigel Bradham and Kyle Williams being doubtful for the game?

A: I really don’t comment on injuries. We’ll play with the guys who are there when we make our active 46.. We’ll have to come out with a way to get a win, regardless of who’s out there. It’s not anything that’s unusual for us. We’ve done it since the opener. We didn’t have [Stephon] Gilmore in the opener. Corey Graham stepped up and had an interception in the game and had an overtime pass breakup and a breakup on the last drive of the game that set us up to be able to get the win. If a guy isn’t able to play, we expect the next guy to step up and execute our scheme.

Q: What are your emotions going back to Detroit?

A: It’s about the same as any week. I’ve been a visitor there before, so I know where the visitors locker room is, in addition to the home locker room. It’s an important game for us. It’s a road game and we’re coming off of a two-game skid and we need to be able to get it back. Whether it’s the Lions or any other team, everybody has connections in this league. Every coach has coached somewhere else. It doesn’t play into the game.

Q: How well do you think the fans will receive you?

A: It doesn’t matter. It’s about the game. That’s certainly not important.

Q: Having been a head coach before, what’s the adjustment like going back to coordinator?

A: Honestly, I don’t think it’s too much of an adjustment. Everybody has a job to do whether you’re a quality control coach, whether you’re an equipment manager, whether you’re a trainer or head coach, defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator. Everybody has a job to do and there’s enough work for that job to require all of your attention. I think the only difference for me this year is that now I’m not spending any time on special teams, I’m not spending any time on offense and I’m not spending any time on team travel and all the other things. It allows me to use my 100 hours a week to devote to an opponents offense, rather than every aspect of the team.

Q: Can your head coaching experience help Doug [Marrone]?

A: I don’t know. I think there is experience that goes along with it. Jeff Fisher had Gunther Cunningham and Dave McGinnis on our staff. We had former head coaches. I had Scott Linehan and Gunther Cunningham. I had former head coaches. I think that perspective is always helpful.

Q: How difficult is it to defend Calvin Johnson?

A: I don’t think anybody has really figured out a plan for it. He’s still the all-time single season leader in receiving. I don’t know if the stats are still the same, but I think he has a four year span where he has more yards than anybody in the NFL. Six-foot five [inches], 235 [pounds], 42-inch vertical. I’ve seen firsthand all of the schemes people use to try to take him out of a game, but he’s still productive regardless of all those things. We’ve had some big challenges this year defensively with some big wide receivers. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Malcolm Floyd. We’ve played some guys that are just about as big. Andre Johnson last week was another big guy. They’re becoming more and more common, but I don’t know if anybody can compare to Calvin Johnson. He didn’t look like himself last week against the Jets, but the others guys stepped up. Golden Tate stepped up and had a big game for them. They scored enough to win and that’s the only thing that’s really important in this league.

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