Bill Belichick was full of praise for Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz who admitted he wouldn’t be where he is if it wasn’t for the Patriots head coach.
With Carson Wentz suffering a season-ending knee injury Philadelphia have had to lean on their defense in the post season and Schwartz’s work this year is backed up by the regular season stats.
A defense ranked fourth overall – and first against the run – take on the Patriots on Sunday and Belichick has previously admitted that Schwartz was on his list of names to join the coaching staff he was putting together in New England having first worked with him in Cleveland.
“I can’t say enough good things about Jim Schwartz, he’s one of the smartest people I know, a really talented person,” Belichick said at Super Bowl week’s opening night media conference.
“He started off in personnel, so he has a good understanding of player personnel, player development, those kind of things. I have a ton of respect for Schwartzy, he’s one of the best guys I’ve worked with.”
Schwartz ended up as linebackers coach in Tennessee under Jeff Fisher, rather than on the Patriots staff, many of whom have gone on to head coaching careers elsewhere in the NFL.
Schwartz has not been duly affected with a four-year spell as Detroit head coach followed by a year as defensive coordinator in Buffalo and his current two-year stint in Philadelphia.
Tom Brady conceded he had no idea how to make Bill Belichick laugh, but suggested four things to say that could make him smile.
But it’s those initial years under Belichick to which Schwartz admits he owes a huge debt although refused to draw the focus away from Sunday’s showdown with his mentor.
“I owe a lot to Bill Belichick, he got my career started,” Schwartz added.
“The first three years of my NFL career were with him in Cleveland. That’s the last thing that we’ll be thinking about in preparation. You think any of our players care that in 1993 I got hired as an unpaid intern?”
Current Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are widely expected to move on this off-season, McDaniels to Indianapolis and Patricia to Schwartz’s old stomping ground in Detroit.
And there has also been some mischievous suggestions that Belichick could move on himself. Nothing would surprise given how difficult he is to read but when asked for his thoughts McDaniels felt Sunday would not be the end of the road.
“No. I mean, you’d have to ask him, but no,” said the Patriots offensive coordinator.
Belichick and Tom Brady are preparing for the eighth Super Bowl as a head coach and quarterback pairing having won five of the previous seven and Schwartz and the Eagles will have to come up with a plan to stop them.
“We need to come up with a good plan, we need to execute,” Schwartz added.
“We need to keep in mind what we’re good at, keep in mind our match-ups and all those different things. And if we do a good enough job at that, we’ll be able to come out with a victory.”
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February 4, 2018, 10:00pm
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