Should Schwartz have been retained?
When seven NFL head coaches were fired last week on “Black Monday,” the Detroit Lions’ Jim Schwartz wasn’t one of them.
That despite the team losing its final eight games in 2012 to finish a woeful 4-12.
That despite the Lions losing nine games by eight points or less – at least three (Tennessee, Indianapolis and Houston) because of boneheaded mistakes only a poorly-coached squad would make.
That despite the team being flagged for 103 penalties good for 944 total yards, or 59 yards per game.
And that despite the Lions allowing 10 touchdowns on interception, fumble, kickoff and punt returns.
Even with this litany of ineptitude, Schwartz has apparently escaped the chopping block. Lions’ owner William Clay Ford has seemingly – at this point, anyway – given his coach a vote of confidence.
Schwartz may be on a very short leash, but it looks like he’ll be back next season. Not so lucky were three Detroit assistant coaches, all on offense, who were let go this past week.
Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham are apparently being given another year to right the Lions’ ship.
Schwartz probably earned a year’s grace when he guided the Lions to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth in 2011.
Long-suffering Lions’ fans saw some light at the end of the tunnel. They were beginning to believe Schwartz might finally be the man to eventually lead the team to The Promised Land, aka, the Super Bowl.
But this past season proved the Lions are far from becoming one of the elite teams in the NFL. Under Schwartz, the players and coaches made too many mistakes.
The Lions had to be the most underachieving team in the league.
Injuries played a large part. The Lions aren’t deep enough to be able to overcome injuries, especially to players like Nate Burleson, Louis Delmas, Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew.
It’s up to team General Manager Martin Mayhew to bolster the team’s lineup with some players that will provide quality depth should some of the top players go down for any length of time.
Schwartz needs to take control of his team and instill some discipline. Too many players are doing stupid things on and off the field without any apparent team repercussions.
There must be accountability on the part of the players. There seems to be little – if any – right now.
Schwartz and Mayhew must work together to make the right player moves in order to make the Lions a winning team.
The team needs a running back with speed, help in the defensive secondary and, yes, a receiver or two.
Failure to address team needs via free agency, trades or the draft will doom the Lions to another mediocre season in 2013.
Schwartz must also prove Ford’s trust in him is justified, not just another foolish mistake.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org