Skip to main content

Schwartz interviews with Lions for second time


Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz interviewed a second-time for the Detroit Lions head coaching job.

The chance to lead the NFL's first 0-16 team seemed to only motivate him to get the job and succeed at it.

"I don't shy away from a challenge," Schwartz said at a news conference that was scheduled as part of his day at the team's headquarters.

Schwartz said he expected to meet with team owner William Clay Ford as part of his visit.

He declined to say if other teams have expressed an interest in hiring him.

Detroit interviewed Schwartz after the regular season and had to wait for Tennessee to be eliminated from the playoffs to speak to him again. The Titans lost to Baltimore on Saturday.

The Lions, who fired Rod Marinelli after his team made history, also have interest in numerous other candidates including Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier.

Schwartz just finished his 10th season with the Titans, his eighth as defensive coordinator. He was promoted from linebackers assistant coach to coordinator in January 2001.

Before being hired in Tennessee, he spent three years on the Baltimore Ravens' staff. He also was a college and pro scout for the Cleveland Browns and that experience might be valuable in Detroit.

The Lions have the No. 1 pick in April along with first- and third-round picks from the Dallas Cowboys and need to find players to spark a turnaround.

"It's probably time to find a replacement for Bobby Layne," Schwartz joked, showing he knows at least a little about the history of perhaps the NFL's worst franchise.

Since winning a title in 1957 with Layne at quarterback, the Lions have the same number of playoff victories as Pro Bowl QBs: one.

If Detroit hires Schwartz, he would also be counted on to come up with ways to improve a defense that ranked last in the league and gave up 517 points -- threatening the NFL record for points allowed (533) in a season set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts.

"There's no better feeling than turning a situation around," he said.

The 42-year-old Schwartz played linebacker at Georgetown, where he earned a degree in economics.

He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1989, later had the same position at Minnesota and went on to become a secondary coach for North Carolina Central and linebackers coach at Colgate.

The Baltimore native became a candidate to be a head coach, though, because of what he's done in Tennessee.

The Titans ranked in the top seven in yards allowed each of the past two seasons and finished second in points allowed per game at 14.6 in 2008. His 2003 defense ranked first in the NFL in rushing defense and led the league in third down defense at 27.7 -- the lowest since the 1998 Oakland Raiders.

The avid chess player analyzes football-related statistics, looking for tendencies, then has the ability to relay what he has learned to players.

"You've got to have the right kind of guys who know how to translate it off the computer to the field and play," Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse has said. "He pretty much has what it takes if you ask me."

Related Content

Fan Zone

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Stay up to date with team and stadium news, concert and event announcements, stream live Titans games and more!

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

A one-stop shop for Titans memorabilia, autographed items and more!

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Get Titans news sent straight to your inbox.