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Saturday, October 1, 2011
Opposing voice: Jim Schwartz

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- Jim Schwartz inherited a winless team when he took over Detroit in 2009 and has slowly turned the Lions into one of the NFL’s best stories in this young season.

The Lions are 3-0 for the first time since 1980 and have explosive players on both sides of the ball (Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh). The Lions are fourth in scoring (101) and third in points allowed (46).

But with this start comes expectations.

“I don’t think we need to reel anybody in,” Schwartz said. “We haven’t played our best football. I think everybody on our team knows that. We are happy to get off to a good start but we still have a lot of improvements to make as a team, and there is nobody that’s satisfied where we are right now.”

But the start has rekindled a city’s love for football.

“It’s important to the city,” Schwartz said. “This is a great sports town. Right now the Tigers are doing very, very well. We’ve gotten off to a good start. This is not just a great sports town, it’s a great football town. And they’ve been lying dormant for a little while because we haven’t given them a whole lot to cheer about and get behind. But they’re behind us. They were behind us last year. We’d gone a long time not drawing big crowds. We sold out seven of eight games last year. Even though we weren’t winning people were, I think, liking what they saw with the team and knew what direction we were headed in. The way we finished last year we won our last four probably had a little bit to do with some of the fans’ momentum.

"I’m not a big believer that you’re team momentum carries over from one year to the next, but it certainly meant a lot to our fans. We played a preseason game, sold out, national TV, against the Patriots and the fans were there. It felt like a regular season game. Our first game against Kansas City at home, it was a noticeable buzz in the air as you were driving to the stadium. We need our fans. This is a great football town. We just need to keep giving them something to cheer about, a team that they can get behind.”