Schwartz: ‘There’s Nothing Like An Opener In The NFL’
DETROIT (97.1 The Ticket) How much of the “real” team the Lions have become was seen in the preseason?
Put it this way.
“Minnesota Vikings didn’t hand it to Adrian Peterson one time in the preseason, so I think he’ll get at least one carry in our game,” said coach Jim Schwartz with his weekly chat with Doug Karsch and Scott Anderson on 97.1 The Ticket.
“You never want to read too much — or too little — into the preseason,” he added. “There’s nothing like an opener in the NFL.”
So, what’s it like to prepare for facing Peterson in the opener?
“It’s a little bit like preparing for Calvin Johnson, the guys are both great players and every time a defensive coordinator starts to prepare against the Lions or against the Minnesota Vikings, they’re starting with ‘How do we stop Adrian Peterson, how do we stop Calvin Johnson?’” Schwartz said. “I think it says a lot about the talent of both guys … They’re marked men from the time they get off the bus. They’ve very difficult to take out with a game plan. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Which one would he rather craft a plan to play against?
“I’d like Calvin on my team, for sure,” Schwartz said, adding, “Not any disrespect to an Adrian Peterson, he’s a great player, we’re going to have to play our very best. It’s going to take a great team effort to get him stopped. Calvin’s already on our team, and they’re very similar type players. Personality-wise, you see some similarities.
“There’s a lot to like about both of those guys. Both of those guys are what’s right about the NFL, for sure.”
Another contender, Matthew Stafford, has faced criticism about his accuracy in the pre-season; Schwartz said those concerns aren’t warranted.
“Matt’s a very accurate passer,” Schwartz said. “We’re very confident in Matt’s ability to get the ball down the field. I think when you saw Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson and the dynamic that both of those guys brought the very little play time that both of them had, I think you saw really good things. There’s a lot of things that go into it, but we’re very confident in where we are and what we can do.”
High hopes are pinned on Riley Reiff for the game against the Vikings, with Schwartz praising his performance last Thanksgiving Day. Can he pass the Jared Allen test?
“This is going to be another big assignment for him, Jared Allen is among the best defensive ends in the NFL and he can make a game changing play, an interception, a tipped ball, a sack, a forced fumble — he’s very difficult to completely take out of the game. Our defense is going to have to play their best against Adrian Peterson, probably Reiff is going to have to come with his A game.
But Schwartz would not put too much emphasis on the Allen-Reiff match-up, saying there’s more going on than that in the game.
“It’s not going to be just that match-up,” he said. “There’s a lot of different schemes that go into that and it’s more important that those schemes work not that there’s one individual player match-up.”
Speaking of individual players, will Ziggy Ansah play this weekend after suffering a concussion?
“We’ll see when we get to Sunday,” Schwartz said.