Jeff Fisher was donning a Detroit Lions polo on Wednesday afternoon as a guest of the Detroit Lions coaching staff.
“Jim said it was the dress code,” he said. “What else was I going to wear?”
Fisher has been in Detroit visiting his former assistant coaches as well as his son, Brandon, who was hired as a defensive assistant this summer.
Fisher and Schwartz had talked earlier in the spring about a short trip to Allen Park and this week it materialized.
“I’ve enjoyed my couple days here,” said Fisher.
Fisher has had the opportunity to watch the Lions practice and be around both the players and coaches and he has liked what he’s seen; players who are clearly excited to come to work.
“There’s clearly high expectations behind me,” said Fisher, referencing the practice field, “but I think there’s high expectations around the league.”
Fisher has spent plenty of time with Schwartz in his day, hiring him in 1999 as a defensive assistant and quality control.
Schwartz quickly moved up the ranks, coaching linebackers in 2000 before moving to defensive coordinator in 2001. It was there he would stay until the Lions came calling in 2009.
“Obviously, he took over a challenging situation,” said Fisher. “To see them come on like they did last year despite the injuries was quite impressive. The guy’s clearly got his stamp on this team.”
When Fisher was asked if Schwartz seems to be the same coach in Detroit that he was in Tennessee, Fisher could do nothing but sing his praises.
“He’s very detailed and he understands situations,” he said. “He’s going to do a great job of managing the clock and motivating his team.”
But the one characteristic of Schwartz’s Lions fans are just beginning to reap rewards from is his ability to wait out a situation and not rush to judgment.
Amidst tough situations in 2009 (the team finished 2-14) and 2010 (injuries to key players), Schwartz has not wavered in his plan for the team.
“One of his greatest characteristics is patience,” said Fisher. “He understands you have to be patient; you can’t overreact and you have to stay consistent. He’s really good at that.”