<span style="">Q: Gregg Williams has been talking all about you preseason saying he is not showing much defensively because you are watching the Saints like a hawk. How far back do you guys go?</span>
Jim Schwartz: "Gregg and I (go back to) 1999 in Tennessee. I had just moved from Baltimore and spent about ten years of being in the right place at the wrong time, the wrong place at the right time and the wrong place at the wrong time and I got to Tennessee as Gregg's quality control coach in 1999 and we went on a Super Bowl run and I was in the right place at the right time."
Q: Are there any anecdotal stories about Gregg that you want to relay to us?
Schwartz: "You guys got to know Gregg a little bit. There's not too much you can print in the newspaper."
Q: What do you expect from Gregg's defense with him being a first-year coordinator in New Orleans?
Schwartz: "He has a track record of proven success in the NFL. His defenses are always hard-nosed and aggressive and they've always been a challenge for the opposing quarterback. That's always where he starts the game plan. We expect nothing less from him this week."
Q: Has Williams shown much in the preseason defensively from the tape you have watched?
Schwartz: "Pretty vanilla. Just about everybody in the NFL's going to do the same thing. When you have a new coordinator or a coordinator coming to a team for the first time, there's uncertainty. Is it going to be the same as when you looked at Jacksonville last year? Is it going to look like what he did with the Redskins? Should we go back to Buffalo? Should we go back to Tennessee? It makes for a little uncertainty. We have the same dynamic here with Scott Linehan, our offensive coordinator. Where do you go to see exactly what our offense is going to look like? Do you go to Miami? Do you go to St. Louis? Do you go back to Minnesota? Anything that you can do to keep that uncertainty alive and hold those cards close to your vest is beneficial for you.
Q: What kind of situation did you inherit in Detroit?
Schwartz: "In the NFL, there's an old adage that it stands for not for long and that's not for long whether you're a good team or a bad team. The best thing about the NFL is that you're given tools that you can make changes, the way the salary cap works and the way the draft works, you can make a change. We had good cap room here. We had a lot of draft picks. We turned over more than half our roster. That's important to be able to do that. I look at a lot of positives here. We had cap room. We had the picks. Players know that you can turn things around. It's been proven and done before in the NFL. We have a great fan base. We have a great place to play. We have a great facility. We have a great owner. There were a lot of attractive things about this job."
Q: When you have all those things, is this a situation where you can't possibly be a 0-16 team again?
Schwartz: "I don't even think about that. We didn't even address 0-16 from last year. We have too much other stuff to worry about to address what happened last year. When you turn a team around and I've said this since I've hit the ground down here, the objective isn't to turn the team around and I've compared it to losing weight. If your objective is to lose weight, there's a lot of ways to do it. You can do to a weekend spa, drink cayenne pepper water and eat lemons and wrap yourself in cellophane and you can drop ten pounds in a weekend. But we all know what happens, that weight comes back, so you have to change your goal. Rather than the goal being to lose weight, your goal has to be to get on the treadmill every day and eat a little bit better than you did yesterday and if you do that over the course of time you will look back and have lost weight. The same thing applies to turning the team around. If your goal is to turn it around, maybe you're looking at the wrong thing. Your goal has got be to improve every single day. Every day go out and be a little better today than you were yesterday. If you keep your eyes on that, you will look back and execute the change."
Q: What do you think of Reggie Bush from a coach's perspective?
Schwartz: "From a coach getting ready to play him, he's a dynamic player, a player you need to know where he is on the field at all times. He's a multidimensional player. He can return kicks. He can return punts. They can use him as a wide receiver. They can use him as a running back. He can score anytime he touches the ball. I can't speak for his ability to hold up over the course of a season. All I need to worry about is one game and that game gives you enough nightmares when there's a player like Reggie Bush."
Q: Do you wonder about him since he didn't play much in the preseason?
Schwartz: "No. People, particularly ballcarriers and people like that; you don't want your ball carriers taking a lot of hits in the offseason. LaDainian Tomlinson has done that quite a bit in the preseason. There have been a lot of other backs and people like that who have done that. I don't think you can read anything into that."
Q: With Matt Stafford being a rookie how quickly and comfortably has he grasped the things you've wanted out of the playbook?
Schwartz: "That was not a surprise, but I guess it was a little bit of a surprise. We knew Matt was smart. We knew he had good command over what they did at Georgia on offense and defense. We spent a great deal of time interviewing him, not just at the combine, not just at Georgia, but up here. That's important. Anybody can look at tape of Matt and say he's got a rifle for an arm. He has a quick relies. That's obvious to anybody. It's the intangibles that were more important or as important. His ability to lead, grasp, his ability to pick things up quickly. We saw all positives there, but from the time we first got him at his first rookie minicamp, his retention, not just his ability to know what our offense was doing, but his ability to decipher defenses was very, very impressive from the time he started here."
Q: If the average person looks at the preseason numbers they would ask why wouldn't you play the veteran and your response was that this isn't an internship. Can you break the horse's spirit too early here if you throw him into the fire and things don't go the way you want him to?
Schwartz: "If we didn't think he was ready, we wouldn't have subjected him to that. He has thick skin. He's been a quarterback all his life. When he was in seventh grade, he was told he was going to be the starter in high school when he was a sophomore, get ready. That's not even a consideration with him. Don't look at his numbers. When we judged him as a quarterback, we judged him on his body of work, not just the preseason games. Some of those games you might throw only 11 passes. There were passes that were called back with offensive holding penalties. He had maybe a half a dozen drops that receivers should have caught balls, receivers that did not make our 53-man roster. That may have made those stats look totally different. What he did as a quarterback is he made good decisions and put the ball where he was supposed to. Did he make some mistakes? Yes. But, he made a lot of plays for us, particularly with Calvin Johnson."
Q: Are you doing anything to prepare for what should be a noisy Superdome on Sunday?
Schwartz: "Yes, it's going to be a wild crowd. It's going to bring out the best in both teams. There's nothing like going into the lion's den so to speak. If that doesn't get your juices flowing as a visiting team, nothing will. We expect a loud crowd. We're going to be ready for it. We're not a typical team that's going to use crowd noise during practice and things like that, but we'll have a good plan for how to deal with it and we'll have to make sure we don't get very many penalties because of the crowd noise."
Q: What's the one thing you're probably most excited about in your team coming into the regular season?
Schwartz: "Just meshing all the new faces. Like I said, we turned over half of our roster (31 players). We have one defensive back from last year's team make our team this year. There's been a tremendous amount of turnover. We also have some keepers here. We didn't want to throw the baby for the bath water so to speak. It's going to be exciting to mesh all those new players, some young players, rookies, some veterans. We're not a young football team. We're young in some areas, but we also have a decent amount of veterans that we've brought in to be able to get us up to speed right away. We don't look at this thing as a rebuilding project. We never put a timetable on…Hey it's going to take us two years, three years. We're going to do everything we can to win every Sunday and that's what we're thinking with every decision we make."
Q: Did you talk with your team about turnarounds other teams have made such as the Saints in 2006?
Schwartz: "No, the players know about the turnaround that Sean (Payton) did with the Saints when he got there. They know about what happened in Atlanta. They know what happened in Baltimore and Miami last year. They're not stupid. They watch the NFL. Our focus has been on us and what's important to us. I didn't address 0-16 with the team. We didn't address what other teams are doing and have done. We've just tried to keep our focus on what we're doing and to try to get a little better everyday. We have enough to worry about without going into those, but the players know it."
Q: What do you see in the Saints since experts seem to have them all over the map in terms of where they will finish in the NFC South?
Schwartz: "I don't know where they'll finish. I'm not a very good handicapper, but I know they have good players. That's a high powered offense. I believe they were number one in the league in points scored, as a passing offense and total yardage. It's one thing to be number one in total yardage, but if you don't score it doesn't make a difference. But they average close to 30 points a game last year. I think they had five receivers that had more than 45 receptions, so obviously the quarterback moves the ball around. They have a good scheme. They have a lot of dynamic players at different positions. That speaks for itself. They've done a good job of keeping that good core together. There hasn't been a lot of turnover from one year to the next. Even defensively, the biggest addition we talked about Gregg Williams coming in. They drafted a defensive back in the first round and brought in Darren Sharper, but there are not a whole lot of new faces there. They have a little different scheme. I'll leave predictions up to the prognosticators and people like that. That's a talented football team, not just on offense, but on defense and when you have a quarterback like Drew Brees, you're going to score points like that and be in every game."