Schwartz from the other side

In a conversation with 49ers beat writers this week, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz gives his takes on the Niners and Lions and other subjects regarding the two teams and Sunday night's early NFC showdown at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

On his impressions of 49ers victory over the Packers: "We've been trying to win in Lambeau for a century or so, it seems. It's a tough place to play, it's a very, very talented team, offensively, defensively, special teams and to see what San Fran did, it's not unexpected. There is a reason the 49ers were in the NFC Championship game last year, because they're a good football team But to go on the road in the opener and come out with the win, that was very impressive. It was a complete win. They played well on offense, defense. I know there was a blip on special teams, but I think there's a reason for that."

On if one area stood of Niners game stood out at Green Bay: "They did a good job in all their phases. Took care of the football, stopped the run. They limited the passing game. Played very well in all phases. That's probably the thing that's most impressive was that it wasn't any one unit or any one thing or a fluky win or anything like that. They played very, very well in all phases."

On Niners' offensive balance and offensive tells: "It's hard to get a beat on any one thing. A lot of shifts. A lot of motion. They have a lot of different things with the extra tight ends that are offensive linemen, and the way they use their tight ends and different wide receivers in almost every formation. It's hard to get a beat on any one thing… It definitely spreads your attention to different places, which is I think what it's all designed to do. We can't worry about stuff like that. We have to adjust and play and worry more about ourselves. The 49ers have some really good offensive plays, have a very good scheme and they execute it very well. We like to think that we do, too, and that will be a good contest on Sunday."

On Leonard Davis, who played for the Lions last season: "We really liked Leonard. We carried him through most of the year. He is a big strong guy, a great guy. We really miss having him around here. I'm sure the 49ers really enjoy having him. But he's not a center. We only kept up 7 offensive linemen last year and neither of our other two guards played center. It's not a surprise he's had success and they've found a use for him."

On looking back at last year's 49ers/Lions game and how well Lions match up with Niners: "A lot of attention went to the touchdown catch that Delanie Walker made, which was a really good play. The thing that maybe gets overlooked a little bit was what their defense did in that two-minute. They came back and stopped us on defense. They went right out and got a stop and got the ball back, pretty much ended the game right there."

On NaVorro Bowman playing more snaps than Patrick Willis against the Packers: "They were in a dime package and when there is another All-Pro on the field at linebacker in NaVorro Bowman, who is an excellent player – first-team All-Pro last year – I don't think that's any disrespect to a guy like Patrick Willis. There is plenty of opportunities on that defense for everybody. That's a great tandem, not just on their inside backers, but you go to their outside backers with Aldon Smith and (Ahmad) Brooks. Those guys are very, very talented. They can do a lot of different things. They can rush, they can cover, they can play zone, they can blitz. I think it was just the way they were playing Green Bay, they had one linebacker on the field. They're fortunate that they have options like that. They defended the deep ball well but they tackled very well and defended the short passes well. It wasn't like they were playing off and allowing the short passes to happen; they were challenge plays all over the field. We have to be able to keep first downs coming and get in the red zone and get in the end zone. It's a great challenge this week."

On Alex Smith's team-record streak of passes without an interception: "Got to have a really smart quarterback to do it and Alex Smith is a definitely a smart quarterback. Seventeen touchdowns last year, I think five interceptions. Does a really good job of taking care of the football, which is extremely important, obviously. I think that turnovers are a big, big part of the NFL. Last week, we were minus-three in turnovers and we came out with a win. That's incredibly hard to do, you can't make a living on being minus in the turnover category and win games. I don't think it's any coincidence the 49ers went 13-3 last year and also led the NFL in turnover margin. Those two go hand in hand, and for us to play well, we're going to have to protect the ball on offense. We can't afford three turnovers again and we're also going to have to find ways to get them. Whether that's forcing a fumble or getting an interception or a tipped ball or however we do it. It's always a big part of every game when you have teams that are fairly close to evenly matched – turnovers can be the difference in the game.

On whether that's a huge point of emphasis in facing the 49ers this week: "It is every week. Obviously, we want to protect the ball as well as we can. There's a real correlation between turnover margin and wins. But every week is a little different in the challenges you have. But certainly that's a message that translates from week to week in the NFL: Take care of the ball and get it if you can."

On how Calvin Johnson opens up things for others on the Detroit offense: "That's a dynamic Calvin brings . It's very rare that he's not doubled some way, some how, whether it's over under or inside out. There's all different ways people try to combat him. He's difficult to hide. He's 6-foot-5 and everybody knows what number he wears. He still goes out and makes plays, and that's the thing that's so impressive about his production, is almost every other team, they start their game plan with ‘how do we keep Calvin Johnson from beating us?' And he's still able to have 100 yards a game receiving, 1,600 in a season, a bunch of touchdowns, all those different things. And he's not a guy who sneaks onto the field and they don't know he's there."

On a budding rivalry between the two teams: "Well, we're both NFC teams. We're both 1-0. Both teams made the playoffs last year. But last year doesn't matter. What matters is this year. Both teams found a way to win last week. Now we're on the road for a Sunday night game. I definitely think it means a lot. There's some familiarity, but we expect a very good game. We're going to try our very best, and we're going to have to do that to knock off the 49ers. All games in the NFL are intense. You're talking about two teams that come to play every week. And I think that's the personality of both teams.''

On any lingering effects from last year's handshake altercation with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: "We've all moved on from that. We've addressed that enough, and the focus is on the 49ers. Anything that happened in the game last year, anything else, doesn't have any bearing in this game. I've already addressed that. I understand your interest that and everything else. But the only way to move on is to move on. And if both of us keep bringing it up and addressing it and doing all those things, then nobody moves on from it. We've moved on. It was last year, and I think I've commented enough."

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