The Detroit Lions are undefeated (1-0-1) heading into their Week 3 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, and it will be the third time that a notable former Honolulu blue employee will face his former team.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz served as the head coach of the Lions from 2009 until his dismissal in 2013, and helped lead the Lions to a wild-card playoff berth in his third season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford was drafted by Detroit while Schwartz was in the Motor City, and has nothing but positive things to say about his former boss.
“A lot of fond memories,” Stafford said Wednesday. “Obviously, I got drafted here by him and he was part of that process, so I appreciate him a lot for giving me the chance. We went to playoffs for the first time in a long time in this franchise’s history and did a lot of good things in kind of getting us to where we are now, which I’m proud of, and I know he is, too.”
Only a handful of players remain from Schwartz's tenure in Detroit, including Stafford, cornerback Darius Slay, long snapper Don Muhlbach and punter Sam Martin are the only current Lions who played under Schwartz.
“They’re playing a little bit different scheme,” Schwartz said of the Lions. “They have a defensive head coach, they have an offensive coordinator who came from a run-first, Seattle-type scheme, so they have maybe a little bit different flavor, but he’s still a very dangerous guy. He goes to the right spot with the balls. He makes accurate throws and moves the ball around to a lot of different people.”
Stafford knows that the Lions are in for a tough defensive matchup against the Eagles.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a defensive coach,” Stafford said. “His guys play extremely hard. They’re in the right spot. They play aggressive. Year in and year out they’re really good defenses. They’re top-echelon defenses and this one seems to be no different.”
Schwartz also had nothing but good things to say about his former quarterback, indicating that it would require a true team effort in order to neutralize him.
“Matt’s always been a guy that’s a very accurate passer, he’s not afraid to put the ball in any window,” Schwartz said. “He’s got a strong arm. He can make all the throws. He’s a really good game manager. I think that’s maybe gone a little bit under the radar with him and you can see that in the way they’re playing.”
The Lions and Eagles square off from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday at 1:00 PM EST.