Q&A with SideLion Report on Schwartz and Downing


Dec 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

With Schwartz and Downing coming over to the Buffalo Bills from the same team, the Detroit Lions, I thought it would be an interesting outlook to bring in someone that has had a little more perspective on the Jim Schwartz and Todd Downing than we might have in Buffalo.  Plus you have already seen and read most of our initial thoughts on the new additions, why not bring in another point of view and opinion.

We rang our friends over at SideLion Report and got Braden Shackelford, a staff writer for the Detroit Lions based fansided site.  Here are the questions we asked and his answers regarding the hiring of Schwartz and Downing.

1. What are your initial thoughts on Jim Schwartz?

"I liked Jim Schwartz early on and I think most fans would agree that they liked him too. However, after the Lions suffered back to back seasons with losing records in 2012 and 2013 I lost every bit of “like” I had for Schwartz as a head coach.  It’s not that Schwartz isn’t a good football coach with a good understanding of the game.  It’s that Schwartz never learned from his mistakes, namely, trusting his players a little too much. The results were apparent as the Lions continued a reputation of “talented, but immature,” during most of his tenure in Detroit."

2. What are your initial thoughts on Todd Downing?

"I think former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has had a big impact on Downing, After working together in St. Louis he followed Linehan over to Detroit. He’s still pretty new to the NFL so most of what we saw in Detroit was likely an extension of Linehan, whom Stafford worked with very closely. Never the less, he was on the staff when Matthew Stafford had his breakout year in 2011 where he passed for 40 touchdowns and 5,000 yards."

3. Schwartz was known for his defense in Tennessee before he came to Detroit, what are some changes that Bills fans might see that Schwartz brings to what was an aggressive defense under Pettine?

"Schwartz is a players coach. He shows a lot of love for his players, he’s fiery, and the players feed off of that and play hard. The Bills will get a coach who’s very passionate about what he does and more importantly very good at what he does. For the most part, I really liked the schemes he helped build in his time in Detroit. Unfortunately, the Lions didn’t have the experience and talent consistently for the defense to really excel."

4. Downing got to work with Stafford and bring him up, what can Bills fans hope for with Downing coaching Manuel, Lewis and Tuel?

"I look for Todd Downing to make more of his mark in Buffalo then he did in Detroit. Obviously, Downing was part of a spectacular season for Matthew Stafford in 2011, which I talked about a little bit above. The problem is that Stafford hasn’t seen the same results on the field the last two seasons and I think that’s a direct result of the coaching staff as a whole being too lenient with Stafford. Hopefully Downing learned from his stint in Detroit and holds his quarterbacks more accountable."

5. Schwartz was brought to Detroit because of his defense in Tennessee.  How much influence did Schwartz play with Detroit’s defensive scheme?

"I’d say Schwartz was definitely a big part of the schemes in Detroit. Nothing is more telling then the defensive players that stood up for him his last few weeks in Detroit which included Ndamukong Suh. Schwartz also had a good relationship with his defensive coordinator in Detroit in Gunther Cunningham, who was even rumored to be part of Schwartz’s coaching staff at one point."