Did Schwartz want a different special teams coach?
Maybe it was an honest mistake, maybe Jeff Fisher got his coaches crossed, or maybe there was something to the slip of the tongue Fisher made in a radio interview last Thursday on WJOX in Birmingham, Ala.
During an appearance promoting the Regions Charity Classic golf event, Fisher was asked about losing his former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the Lions. He complimented Schwartz as being very, very smart, said he will be successful there as a head coach, and commended the great job he did with his staff.
To go out and get Gunther Cunningham and Scott Linehan and Scotty O'Brien to coordinate the three different phases of the football team were three top coordinators in the league, Fisher said. So from that standpoint, you're as good as the people you surround yourself with. So I think Jim will be just fine up there.
Cunningham is the Lions' defensive coordinator, Linehan runs the offense, and O'Brien coordinates special teams for the New England Patriots.
Now, I never heard O'Brien's name come up as a potential assistant coaching hire after Schwartz got the Lions job, but it's possible he was in Schwartz's original plan (something he presumably discussed with Fisher) and never got the chance to be a Lion. O'Brien, who worked with Schwartz in Cleveland and Baltimore from 1993-98, was introduced as New England's new special teams coach in a press release Feb. 3, but the move was reported by the Denver Post O'Brien coached special teams for the Broncos the last two seasons on Jan. 14.
Schwartz was hired a day later, and Stan Kwan eventually was retained as special teams coach.
Two more excerpts from the interview caught my attention. Fisher was asked how important it was for Schwartz to be granted some control of the organization considering the management problems the Lions have had in the past.
It was his biggest concern, but he was very, very pleased with the plan that was in place and with the preparation, Fisher said. I think, it's like anything else, in order to be successful everybody needs to work together. When you've got people pulling different directions it just doesn't work. And Jim really felt that everybody was at least on the same page and will remain on the same page.
On the chances Schwartz can turn the Lions into a winner, Fisher said, Jim's not going to try to go out and go 13-3 this year, although I think some clubs over the last couple of years have proved that it can almost happen. You can turn it around that fast. I think he's building that club the right way. He's got some key free agents in and of course drafting (Matthew) Stafford, I think he'll be fine. They'll win games this year. Their division's very competitive. He'll have them equipped to play games close to have a chance to win at the end. But Jim will be successful there.
For the entire interview, visit: http://www.wjox690.com/goout.asp?u=http://joxfm.com/sectional.asp?id=23646