Lions coach Jim Schwartz and Browns coach Eric Mangini started out together as young, low-level employees of the old Cleveland Browns in the 1990s under coach Bill Belichick.
Schwartz was in the scouting department. Mangini was a ball boy, a PR intern, then a coaching assistant. Belichick had a staff full of men who went on to coaching and front office positions in college and the NFL -- from Nick Saban to Kirk Ferentz to Scott Pioli to Thomas Dimitroff.
"We had a lot of young guys in that building, Eric Mangini included, that were all in the same boat," Schwartz said. "We were all young and trying to earn our stripes. I think the success that people who were there have experienced in the league is no accident. It's because of the way Bill ran the program, Bill Belichick."
When the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens in 1996, Schwartz was an offensive assistant, Mangini a defensive assistant. Their offices were in close proximity. "The thing about him is, (he's) really, really smart," Mangini said. "Very smart. Always forward-thinking. Always trying to figure out better ways to do things. His work ethic was outstanding. He's going to set the tempo. So I'm not surprised that he had the success he did as a defensive coordinator and I'm sure he'll have great success as a head coach as well."
Schwartz Remains Confident of Draft Class
Schwartz remains bullish on the Lions, especially rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, despite the 1-8 start. "We drafted very well this year," Schwartz said.
"We're very confident that we have a quarterback that's going to lead us into the future and is going to be very, very successful in this league, and that's a huge part of the equation. ... I've been encouraged by the way things have been going.
"We're very determined to get this thing turned around. It's going to take commitment from everybody. It's not just players. It's not just coaches. It's not just front office or everybody. It's an entire organization. We're on the right track. It hasn't shown in the win column, and that's the most important thing. But I'm confident that it will soon."