Schwartz takes high road on 49ers' comments

BY foxsports • September 17, 2012

The coaches' handshake went considerably smoother this time, but the animosity between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers hasn't subsided.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive lineman Joe Staley reportedly both had derogatory comments about the Lions.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz is taking the high road this time.

"You win the game, you say whatever you want," Schwartz said Monday during his weekly news conference to wrap up the previous night's 27-19 loss at San Francisco. "There's a lot of people that have opinions. There's a lot of people who will listen to those opinions."

First, NBC reporter Michelle Tafoya said that Harbaugh in a pregame interview called the Lions a "chippy bunch" and a "late-hit bunch."

Harbaugh said afterward that he didn't remember making those comments to Tafoya.

Then there was Staley, who was extremely critical of the Lions' highly touted defensive line.

"They didn't want any part of us up front," Staley told "We killed them.

"… They like to pride themselves on being cheap after the play. They think they're physical because they do that."

Asked if the Lions' front four is overrated, Staley answered, "Extremely. I've never been impressed by the Detroit Lions' defensive line."

Staley, in his sixth year in the NFL, played in high school at Rockford, Mich., and in college at Central Michigan.

"Our biggest thing is we lost the game," Schwartz said. "We need to play better. We need to put that one behind us. We need to move on to Tennessee. We can't worry about what anybody else thinks. We need to worry about ourselves.

"Everybody's got an opinion," Schwartz added. "Ratings don't matter. Wins matter. We didn't get the win. They got the win."

The Lions' players were not available to the media Monday after traveling back from the West Coast late Sunday night.


Even though the 49ers' defense played a soft box and focused primarily on stopping the deep passing game, the Lions were not able to run the ball effectively. They finished with only 82 yards on 26 carries.

The run game, however, should get a boost Sunday at Tennessee with the regular-season debut of running back Mikel Leshoure.

Leshoure missed all of last season because of a torn Achilles' tendon. He had to miss the first two games this season after being suspended for two offseason marijuana arrests.

"We've been waiting to see him for a long time," Schwartz said. "When we drafted him in the second round, we had high expectations for him. He was showing us all the things we needed before his rookie year when he got hurt.

"We have some gaps in our offense that I think he can fill. He's a good player. He's healthy. We're looking forward to getting him back on the field."

The Lions also reportedly have shown interest in two free-agent running backs. Steve Slaton, a former Houston Texan, and Ryan Grant, a former Green Bay Packer, are expected to workout Tuesday for the club.

"I'm not going to comment on guys that we potentially would bring in," Schwartz said. "But we do need to run the ball a little bit better.

"San Fran, in particular, took an approach that they were going to try to limit the passing game. We need to be able to rush for more than 3.0 or 3.2 a carry.

"Hopefully, Leshoure can be a big part of that."

As if it wasn't bad enough to be without cornerbacks Chris Houston (ankle) and Bill Bentley (concussion), along with safety Louis Delmas (knee), the Lions' depleted defensive backfield took another hit during Sunday's game.

Drayton Florence, who started against the 49ers, apparently suffered an injured right arm that potentially could keep him out of the lineup for a while.

"It doesn't look real good, but we'll see," Schwartz said.

Asked about receiver Ryan Broyles, the second-round draft pick who was not playing and sitting all by himself for much of the game, Schwartz responded:  "So? I don't read too much into stuff like that. You guys can read into it whatever you want to read into it.

"I don't talk about conversations with players. I'm worried about the players that are on the field, not who's sitting on the bench.

"We never needed a fourth wide receiver. He was the fourth wide receiver. It's no slight on Broyles. Broyles is a good player."