- • Week 1 it was coaching against former mentor Jeff Fisher and the Rams.
- • Week 2 it was the handshake with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
- • This week Schwartz is taking his Lions team into Tennessee, where he spent 10 years as a defensive coordinator.
Schwartz joked after practice Wednesday that it’s been so long since he’s been to Tennessee that he probably couldn’t find his way back from the airport.
Titans head coach Mike Munchak and Schwartz were quality control coaches with the Titans at the same time in the late 90's and worked their way up the Titans coaching ladder for 10 seasons together. Schwartz says he has a lot of respect for the way Munchak worked himself up the coaching ranks much the same way he did.
“Not many people that had the career that he had - Hall of Fame career, he’s got one of those Hall of Fame jackets - No. 1, wanted to coach and No. 2, are willing to start off as a quality control coach,” Schwartz said of Munchak.
“We all know I started out the same way. We know about those hours. It’s a thankless job. There’s a guy that’s going to Canton and he’s grinding until midnight. I have a lot of respect for that.”
Schwartz said he and Munchak’s cars were parked next to each other's in the Titans parking lot and if he left and Munchak’s car was still there he thought he was cheating the clock.
“He didn’t get a coaching job because he was a great player in the Hall of Fame, he got a coaching job because he knew what he was talking about and he worked very, very hard at it," Schwartz said.
“He was willing to grind out a thankless job. He didn’t need the money. It says a lot about him, his character and the way he wants to run that team and the way he’s going to build that team.”
Munchak told local reporters Wednesday that he knew Schwartz was going to be a head coach after just a short time knowing him.
“I knew that was his goal. I just thought he was a great worker,” he said. “I thought he was always prepared. I saw him work up from quality control and he did that job. To him that job was as important as being the head guy. I mean, anything he does he does 100-percent. He’s all in on it. It’s important to him.”
Schwartz, in his fourth year at the helm of the Lions, leads a team into Tennessee that made the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons last year and is trying to fulfill some lofty expectations this season.
Munchak, in his second year as Titans head coach, guided them to a 9-7 record last year, but has gotten off to a 0-2 start this season and is desperate for a win.
“It sounds like (Schwartz) has got things playing just like I thought he would,” Munchak said. “So I know first-hand what kind of team is coming in here. I know how important this game is to him. Not just because he’s played here before or he’s been here, but to his team, you come off a tough loss, he wants to come in here and win this game first and foremost and then secondly is the other stuff.”
It sounds like Munchak knows Schwartz pretty well, all right.