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Schwartz thinks offseason will be critical for second-year players

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Last year, incoming players had no offseason program.  That’s because no one had an offseason program, thanks to the lockout.

Though some first-year players, like Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, had an immediate and significant impact, plenty of players struggled when the regular season began after a truncated training camp.

That’s why Lions coach Jim Schwartz believes the 2012 offseason program will be critical for second-year players who’ll be exposed to the offseason for the first time.

“Last year we didn’t get a chance to really do a whole lot,” Schwartz said, per Anwar Richardson of MLive.com.  “They came into training camp . . . it was incredibly difficult for rookies last year.  You just look at a guy like Titus Young.  Titus had zero catches in the first game last year and then when it came time at the end of the year he was a big playmaker for us.  That was a work that developed through 16 games and then the playoff game.

“Mainly because we didn’t have a chance to.  First of all, he didn’t have any offseason.  Second of all, he didn’t have any training camp.  His training camp was week three and week four and week five, things like that.”

Schwartz also suggested that the sudden start to training camp may have contributed to injuries suffered by his top two draft picks in 2011.  “[Nick] Fairley got hurt the second day of training camp,” Schwartz said. “[Mikel] Leshoure got hurt first week of training camp.  They didn’t really get a chance.  And even a guy like Doug Hogue, we were busy training a couple new linebackers last year.  Not really training them, but getting them indoctrinated, Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch.  You don’t have time to do every single one.”

It mirrors a sentiment that Schwartz supposedly expressed to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh in March 2011, as Harbaugh was seeing his effort to prepare for his rookie season as a head coach delayed by the work stoppage.

“We were having dinner the other night and Jim Schwartz told [Jim Harbaugh] basically there’s no way you’re going to be able to get it done [if the lockout lasts into the summer],” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “[Schwartz] told him there’s no way you’re going to be able to accomplish what you need to accomplish in two weeks if this thing lasts a while.  Jim [Harbaugh] just kind of bit his tongue, which is what you’ve got to do in this situation. Because there’s nothing you can do about it.”

All three teams made the playoffs, with both Harbaughs getting to the final four.  Though Schwartz’s comments don’t come off as an excuse for not getting farther than the wild-card round, the point is that he’s expecting a lot from his second-year players, which means that Lions fans now will, too.

Either way, the offseason program can’t start soon enough.  Left to their own devices, Fairley and Leshoure have had off-field incidents during the offseason program.  Once they’re back in Detroit and back at work, Schwartz will likely sleep a little more soundly.

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24 Responses to “Schwartz thinks offseason will be critical for second-year players”
  1. sj39 says: Apr 13, 2012 9:00 AM

    Wow, genius.

  2. talkintrashallday says: Apr 13, 2012 9:01 AM

    maybe they can use the offseason to read Suh the RULEBOOK

  3. kdub79 says: Apr 13, 2012 9:07 AM

    In related news, water is wet and the sky is blue.

  4. aintthenazz says: Apr 13, 2012 9:08 AM

    Bring on the stupid Suh stomping, pot smoking, handshake, dirty play comments!!

  5. everydayimfumbilin says: Apr 13, 2012 9:08 AM

    Indoctrinated eh?

  6. toegoat says: Apr 13, 2012 9:09 AM

    “wanna get high?”- Chris Tucker voice

  7. buhbay1c says: Apr 13, 2012 9:10 AM

    First item on the docket, DO NOT SMOKE WEED.

  8. buhbay1c says: Apr 13, 2012 9:11 AM

    intthenazz says:
    Apr 13, 2012 9:08 AM
    Bring on the stupid Suh stomping, pot smoking, handshake, dirty play comments!!

    You know what’s stupid? Smoking pot, running down an opposing coach like a spaz, and stomping dudes on the ground.

  9. lks311 says: Apr 13, 2012 9:25 AM

    I wonder where the Lions rank on the “PFT.com Hits Board”. My guess is top five. Every time you need to get a rise out of readers and generate story hits, post a Detroit Lions update.

    Considering how historically bad they’ve been over the last decade, I think it’s fascinating that they rank so high. Nice job Lions in coming back from the brink into NFL mainstream relevancy.

  10. raiderluv says: Apr 13, 2012 10:15 AM

    Wow. That’s very deep.

  11. purpleguy says: Apr 13, 2012 10:29 AM

    Maybe Schwartz can also use the off-season to look in the mirror as he contemplates the various causes of the team discipline problems over the past year. Well, that and shop for shoes with lifts.

  12. tednguyen73 says: Apr 13, 2012 10:36 AM

    And the players think the offseason is a waste of time…until u get injured…can’t have it both ways

  13. shaunypoo says: Apr 13, 2012 10:52 AM

    Considering the hype that surrounded the Lions going into last year, yes, it does sound like an excuse for not going further than the wild card.

    Had they not started off so hot, they would not have made the playoffs.

  14. bchapman2011 says: Apr 13, 2012 10:54 AM

    What Schwartz meant is that it will be critical for his second year players because he does not know how many of his guys will be in jail. Three draft picks arrested from the same draft class in the same summer? Character gambles like that never pay off and it will bite them down the road.

  15. anthonioustheprettygood says: Apr 13, 2012 10:55 AM

    haha @ purpleguy. Hate all you want. It won’t help your team out of the cellar anytime soon.

  16. vikingsprimetime says: Apr 13, 2012 11:10 AM

    oh my goodness wow!

  17. rmc1995 says: Apr 13, 2012 11:42 AM

    More perplexing is why Jim Harbaugh took this sentiment as a dig rather than sound advice. The 49ers defense was the star last season and the defense is chock full of vets. If Harbaugh was able to do all he wanted on offense in two weeks and he was comfortable with the offensive performance, then the 49ers are in for a bad season in 2012. It seems to me, Harbaugh took this advice, coached to the strength of the defense and scaled down the offense in those two weeks. Otherwise, if this offense is Harbaugh’s full-on system, no wonder they wanted to get Manning to take it over.

  18. geatsromo says: Apr 13, 2012 12:58 PM

    May the Schwartz be with you. This guys an idiot.

  19. theytukrjobs says: Apr 13, 2012 1:15 PM

    He’s stating the obvious but it is still a good point. This season second year players will make a bigger jump from their rookie season than is generally the case. Maybe this provides some hope for teams that seemingly had poor drafts.

  20. alldonesmith says: Apr 13, 2012 3:23 PM

    So let me get this straight:

    Jim Schwartz tells Jim Harbaugh “there’s no way your team will be successful this year” before the season. Then during their game, Schwartz yells “know the f-ing rules, Harbaugh!” across the sidelines when Harbaugh utilizes the rule he supposedly doesn’t know to give the officials time to review a play. Then after his team gets beat, he chases Harbaugh down the sidelines, getting in his face and yelling at him over some small perceived slight to the point he has to be physically pulled away.

    Jim Harbaugh shook Jim Schwartz’s hand too hard and gave him a clap on the back.

    And somehow Harbaugh is the bad guy here??? Some PFT readers are seriously out of touch with reality.

  21. darthhitman77 says: Apr 13, 2012 4:23 PM

    alldonesmith says: Apr 13, 2012 3:23 PM

    So let me get this straight:

    Jim Schwartz tells Jim Harbaugh “there’s no way your team will be successful this year” before the season. Then during their game, Schwartz yells “know the f-ing rules, Harbaugh!” across the sidelines when Harbaugh utilizes the rule he supposedly doesn’t know to give the officials time to review a play. Then after his team gets beat, he chases Harbaugh down the sidelines, getting in his face and yelling at him over some small perceived slight to the point he has to be physically pulled away.

    Jim Harbaugh shook Jim Schwartz’s hand too hard and gave him a clap on the back.

    And somehow Harbaugh is the bad guy here??? Some PFT readers are seriously out of touch with reality.

    Schwartz chasing him was wrong however so I see your point. Schwartz IS a sore loser…even though he had lost 24 games in his first 2 games…NO WAY was he used to losing? Harbaugh did NOTHING WRONG, I saw Vince Lombardi pulling his shirt up exposing his chest like he was a monkey all the time too…and the earlier in the season he did it the better. GTFOH w/that BS

  22. darthhitman77 says: Apr 13, 2012 4:24 PM

    24 losses in first 2 seasons

  23. alldonesmith says: Apr 13, 2012 5:33 PM

    @darthhitman77

    I could see why the shirt thing might bother Lions fans a little. But for the whole season, one of Harbaugh’s main themes for the team was to keep your shirt tucked in during practices/games/etc. when it’s time for business, then when the game is over you can untuck your shirt and relax a little. When he didn’t untuck his shirt after a game, players would run up to him and do it for him anyway.

    This particular game, the shirt came up too far before he could pull it down. Do you really blame him for being excited to win a hard-fought, thrilling game between two elite teams? Everyone participating in or watching that game was pumped up by it. If you think he was purposely trying to expose his skin you’re being ridiculous. And Schwartz himself said he didn’t see that, so he couldn’t possibly have taken offense to it.

    It doesn’t matter how many games Schwartz lost in his first 2 seasons, or his entire career for that matter. There’s absolutely nothing about what Harbaugh did that a normal person wouldn’t have just shrugged off and walked away from. When you compare their actions like I did in my previous post, it’s clear to any reasonable person who it was that behaved poorly.

  24. GG Eden says: Apr 13, 2012 6:05 PM

    Ever the forward thinking motivator, Schwartz tells the Lions second year players, “I don’t think you will be able to get it done.”

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