Head Coach Jim Schwartz and his staff are in Allen Park putting the finishing touches on their preparation for the upcoming week’s Senior Bowl.
Schwartz and his staff will head the North Team, featuring local players like QB Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan), RB Joique Bell (Wayne State) and DE Brandon Graham (Michigan).
Schwartz: “You know a little bit about the players before you go down there, but I don’t want to get too much into evaluations. We’ll have the scouts give us a thumbnail on each guy but if we have a really good scouting grade on a guy and we don’t have as much feel for him, that’ll taint or prejudice our evaluation. Same thing if we have a low grade on a guy and then we really like him. You tend to hedge bets. I’d rather go with a clean slate.”
Because of the rules surrounding the game (e.g. teams can only rush six players on a punt; defenses can only play Cover-1 or Cover-3; offenses can’t shift), there really isn’t much of a game plan.
“It’s more just letting the players play,” said Schwartz.
NFL coaches around the League attend the Senior Bowl, so evaluating the way players practice or compete in the game isn’t foreign territory to Schwartz or his staff.
But actually coaching them during those practices has its advantages.
Schwartz: “Watching practice habits and watching the way a player moves through practice and being that close to him when he does it are all important. It’s all part of the same picture, but it’s a different part of the picture.”
The primary benefit the Lions’ staff will have, however, will be getting to know the players themselves. The staff will spend a full week with all of the players in attendance, sharing meeting and meal space and – in regards to the North team – practices.
All of those factors will add an element to evaluation debates leading up to the draft.
Schwartz: “You’re having breakfast with them. You’re riding the bus over to practice with them. It’s not just 15 minutes. At the combine you get 15 minutes to interview. When you bring guys here before the draft for physicals, you’re spending eight hours with them, nine hours with them. We’re with them for a week, so by the time the week’s over, we know them pretty well.”
Tags: Jim Schwartz
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