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Jim Schwartz: Cornerback 'most difficult thing to do'

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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What is the most difficult thing to do in sports? It has become a well-worn watering hole debate.

Are we talking about hitting a round ball traveling at 100 mph with a round bat versus clubbing a tiny ball toward an arbitrarily placed hole through water and forests? Are we discussing the strain of playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys versus pitching for the New York Yankees?

Regardless, we know what position Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz will take.

"It's tough to play corner (in the NFL)," Schwartz said Sunday, via DetroitLions.com. "I think it's probably the most difficult thing to do in all of sports.

"You have to run with world-class receivers, you've got to start backwards and they're going forward. They know where they're running, you don't. You've got to be tough enough to take on pulling guards and running backs and skilled enough and fast enough to cover the elite athletes, you know, guys that are Olympic-caliber speed."

Schwartz has seen cornerback played poorly enough for the Lions that his opinion warrants some consideration -- even if he ultimately is wrong.

Heading into his fifth season with the Lions, Schwartz is hoping his new cornerback corps will bring the combination of speed and size that make a difficult job a bit easier.

Second-round pick Darius Slay, along with fellow corners Ron Bartell, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green, all are at least 6 feet tall without losing speed (each ran a 4.4-second or faster 40-yard dash, according to the team's website).

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"I think that's been more of our emphasis, trying to find guys that have all of it," Schwartz said. "They are rare to find, something you have to develop, which we're working on with Chris Greenwood. You know, small-school guy but has height and has weight and has a lot of things that we're looking for. Other guys, like (Ron) Bartell is a veteran player, we had the opportunity to get and we were able to plug them in."

They might be bigger and faster, but they just need to be one thing for Schwartz to keep his job for a sixth season: better.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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