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Schwartz Facing His Mentor

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DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Jim Schwartz looks at defensive end Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions after Suh is ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field on November 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Jim Schwartz looks at defensive end Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions after Suh is ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the Thanksgiving Day game at Ford Field on November 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Lions head coach Jim Schwartz spent 10 seasons in Tennessee working under Rams coach Jeff Fisher. In that time he went from defensive assistant to linebacker coach to coordinator. “He jokes around that he was pouring coffee and making airport runs when he started,” Fisher said. “I don’t recall him making airport runs.” What he recalls is Schwartz being innovative and energetic and immediately being able to communicate with the players. “Jim is very talented and I knew from Day One when he walked in the door that he was going to be successful,” Fisher said. “I promoted him twice, both times it was met with resistance in the organization. But I knew Jim was ready and he was going to be successful.” Both have downplayed the mentor-protege angle. “It’s the Rams vs. the Lions; that’s it,” Schwartz said.

–Quarterback Matthew Stafford’s commercial on ESPN promoting Monday Night Football has been a hit, but don’t try to peg him as an actor. “Nah, I just fake it until I make it,” he said. He did say he enjoyed the experience. “I must’ve done about 150 different lines for what I was going to say about the bib and the t-shirt,” he said. “The cannon ball (dive) was the last shot of the day and we just winged that. I was playing Marco Polo in the pool by myself in another shot (that didn’t make the cut). It was good stuff. I was happy to poke fun at myself.”

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