The Lions’ collapse over the last five weeks has taken them from first place to out of the playoffs, but coach Jim Schwartz doesn’t believe this season was a failure.
Asked at his press conference today about whether the Lions’ season is a failure, Schwartz said it is not.
“We didn’t make the playoffs and I think that’s obviously anybody’s goal, so we didn’t achieve that goal. But I don’t know if I’d be as strong as to call it failure,” Schwartz said. “We haven’t done a good enough job. I mean, it’s been the quintessential close but no cigar. We’ve battled every game but we’ve come up a play short consistently, whether it was a special teams play or an offensive play or a defensive play.”
When reporters pressed Schwartz on why this season isn’t a failure, Schwartz described himself as a “half-full guy” and said he’s being optimistic.
“I could get philosophical,” Schwartz said. “When I hear failure, I hear ‘abject failure,’ nothing goes right. That’s the connotation I get from it, maybe you feel different. But I don’t feel that about our team.”
Schwartz also defended his players when asked about Detroit’s turnover problems, saying that Reggie Bush wasn’t holding the ball loose when he lost a fumble in Sunday’s loss to the Giants, and that Matthew Stafford went through his progressions correctly on his interceptions on Sunday. But Schwartz did acknowledge that it was particularly tough to lose on Sunday and then see that the Bears and Packers lost as well, which means that if the Lions had won, they’d just need to beat the Vikings in Week 17 to win the NFC North.
“That made it even tougher to swallow for sure,” Schwartz said.
Asked about his own record as the team’s coach, Schwartz pointed out that he inherited a team that had just gone 0-16.
“I know where we were when I took over and I know where we are now,” Schwartz said.
Whether it’s a failure or not, the season is over for the Lions. And Schwartz may be done as their coach.