Schwartz says Lions’ penalty woes have nothing to do with discipline


Lions coach Jim Schwartz has said there’s no excuse for players who commit dumb penalties.  And now Schwartz says there will be no playing time for them.

Schwartz is addressing the rash of penalties that occur beyond the scope of the game play.  “It will continue to be addressed and players that do those things won’t play,” Schwartz said Monday, according to Anwar Richardson of

The problem appears to be that the players lack discipline.  Center and offensive captain Dominic Raoila confirmed that, three times, after Sunday night’s loss. “We’re undisciplined.  Undisciplined.  Undisciplined,” Raiola said.

Schwartz disagrees, perhaps because he’s supposed to be the dean of discipline in Detroit.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with discipline,” Schwartz said. “I think we’ve been much improved when it comes to our pre-snap penalties. We had one [major penalty] in the opener, we addressed it and we went a pretty long time without them.

“The other thing is we don’t have a player who has gotten more than one of these.  We had Gosder [Cherilus], we had Suh, we had the three guys this week.  There hasn’t been repeat offenders, but as a team, we’ve had five this year.  That’s way too many.”

So who’s to blame?  It’s a chicken-and-the-egg, dog-chasing-his-tail question.  Undisciplined players don’t simply become undisciplined in the heat of the moment.  They show signs of it, and the coach needs to get rid of it.

And by threatening undisciplined players with a lack of playing time, Schwartz is attempting t0 implement discipline, even though he doesn’t want to call it discipline because that would expose his failure to previously apply discipline.

These Georgetown guys give me a headache.

75 responses to “Schwartz says Lions’ penalty woes have nothing to do with discipline

  1. If you’re the Lions why wouldn’t you bring in someone like Cowher and dump this clown Schwartz. You are on the verge of something big, the only thing holding you back right now is the idiot coach. All this goes back to him chasing Harbaugh around like an idiot, since then any discipline this team had has gone out the window. When you see the coach act like that, the players figure hey we can do it to.

  2. Pre-snap penalties as in false starts and Illegal formations? That’s not the issue. the issue with the Lions is the 15 yard varieties and post whistle penalties. That is where the discipline is broken.

  3. In saying “players that do those things won’t play” he must be referring to Suh, who’s not playing because the league suspended him.

    It is idiotic to suggest that the Lions don’t have a discipline problem. Raoila should certainly know and I applaud him for speaking up.
    Bottom line is that this has to fall back on the head coach.

  4. Yeah he needs to do a better job, but at least with Pettigrew and Logan, they’re vets at this point. A grown man shouldn’t need to tell another grown man not to throw a punch in the middle of a tight football game.

  5. Schwartz is in CYA mode. It’s absolutely about the discipline and he hasn’t managed it well. Get real. Admit your failures publicly and implement changes as needed. Ego gettin’ in the way of bein’ honest.

  6. You’ll know them by their fruits. Undisciplined players do undisciplined things and players that do undisciplined things are undisciplined.

  7. Of course Schwartz says that… because HE’s undisciplined. That’s where the problem starts.

  8. Guys, I am from detroit and follow these guys very closely. In one of the first games of the year, our OT Cherilous got a penalty which stopped the clock when the lions were trying to run out the game clock to secure a win. After that, Schwartz pulled him and did not start him the next game. Until he applies that logic to the rest of his team INLCUDING superstars like Suh, not only will he not have the respect of the team, he will continue to loose the support of his fanbase.

  9. Pre-snap penalties might not be the problem, its after play penalties. Those are even worse than pre-snap, because the only discipline you need to not get flagged, is go back to the huddle.

  10. This “idiot coach” has more wins than anyone from the Millen Regime. I think he’s here to stay.

    I don’t know if it’s so much discipline as it is mental toughness. It really wasn’t an issue until the Suhstomp became a national dance craze. Now it’s all under a microscope. In order to get out from under it, you have to be better than everybody else at avoiding the post whistle shenanigans. They’ really just started.

    Schwartz benched Cherilus for a personal foul early in the year and I think he’s trying to show that he’s has a mechanism for dealing with it. Just gotta give it time.

  11. Bashing a fallen player’s head, then stomping his arm.
    Pushing a ref.
    Chasing an opposing coach down because he shook your hand too hard.

    Nope, no sign of lack of discipline here.

  12. Dominic Raoila has become the voice of reason in the Lions locker room? No wonder this team is filled with a bunch of hotheads and cheap shot artists.

  13. I don’t know why Raoila is saying anything about discipline. Does he think we forgot last season when a video surfaced of him telling Dolphin fans in Miami to use their mouths on a certain part of his anatomy?

    Detroit has always been classless. The only difference is this year they started 5-0 and people actually noticed.

  14. How can you expect a coach who couldn’t keep his composure during the Harbaugh incident to have players that keep composure during a football game? The culture of a team starts with the head coach.

  15. It has nothing to do with discipline. It has everything to do with lack of discipline, starting at the top with Jim Schwartz.

    Who’s post-game comments were more ridiculous? Suh’s after the GB game? Or these by Schwartz.

    Harry- from Dumb & Dumber- “Just when I think you can’t be any dumber, you go and do something like this and totally redeem yourself!”

    Lloyd- “I’m tired of having to eke my way through life’

  16. “The other thing is we don’t have a player who has gotten more than one of these. We had Gosder [Cherilus], we had Suh, we had the three guys this week.

    Wait, is he saying multiple players losing their composure once is better than one player losing his composure multiple times?

    “This is what going crazy must feel like.”

  17. This is like nabbing a shoplifting kid with candy falling out of every pant leg and pocket…telling the security guard that he came into the store with all of that candy, when the security cameras show the stealing and the candy rack is empty.

    I thought Georgetown guys were supposed to be some of the smartest minds. Did he go there on a hoops ride too??

  18. So, guys throwing punches, shoving officials, and stomping on opponents arms after the whistle isn’t a sign of poor discipline?

    Glad Schwartz cleared that up, I was beginning to think there was a discipline problem.

  19. Everyone covered this already, but they “become undisciplined in the heat of the moment”, just like their coach. He wanted to throw down with Harbaugh after the handshake deal, same thing his players do after a play. It’s a fairly simple pattern to see.

    Players take on the personality of their coach. Lions fans were calling Harbaugh a “punk”, but they aren’t writing an article like this about the 9ers now are they?

  20. The Head Coach is ultimately responsible for what happens on the field of play.

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s before snap, before the whistle, or after the whistle.

    The Lions are 8-8 team. And I give them credit for improving over the last few years to get there. But bottom line, they’re an 8-8 team (give or take a game). And they’re missing some talent needed to be better.

    When you’re a not-so-good team, struggling to get better, the coach and players do every miniscule thing they can to get any advantage they can. They call it “aggressive” or “physical” but really means they play to the very edge of the rules. Either intentionally or un-intentionally, that’s what they do.

    As their talent level improves, you’ll see fewer penalties.

  21. It’s just the Lions. Perennial LOSERS. The only way they can attempt to win is by cheating.

  22. Amazing how fast they went for a feel-good up-and-coming cinderella story to a pitiful and embarrassing group of undisciplined and immature crybabies.

  23. We all saw what a great job Schwartz did controlling Albert Haynesworth’s discipline problem in Tennessee.

    No big shock that Schwartz has the same problem now in Detroit.

    The fish stinks from the head down.

  24. Schwartz may be as delusional as Millen was, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one and to say it’s not a discipline problem is ridiculous. The sad thing is the team has ridiculous talent on D, a very good young QB and the best receiver in the game, but you’re never going to get to the promised land if the inmates are running the asylum.

  25. It has EVERYTHING to do with discipline, who is he kidding. Discipline is about controlling your anger while having instant willingness and obedience to the rules of the league.

    Players act accordingly and are a direct reflection of their leadership. If your coach doesn’t know what discipline is, how to you expect him to teach self control?

  26. Saying these penalties aren’t related to discipline is like saying the hole in your roof has nothing to do with the fact that water leaks into your living room when it rains. The root of the problem is so obvious it’s almost crazy to deny its cause.

  27. Did anyone listen to this punks interview with Michele Tafoya prior to kick off Sunday night? It should be disturbing to the league to see how full of himself this jerk is. At the start of the season many fan league wide other saw the Lions resurgence as a compelling story, myself included. But now more fans are compelled to watch the impending implosion of the kitties. They’re becoming the biggest disappointment and joke this season.

  28. big motivator coaches eventually lose their team’s ears just like this. rah- rah all they want, but the team stops listening after a while. happened with ryan, happening with schwartz, will happen in a year or two with harbaugh.

  29. Perfect time to lure a big name coach like Gruden or Cowher to Detroit. All the talent is in place and these guys will further their legacy with a quick turnaround for the Lions. Just make sure Gunny stays the D coordinator

  30. slippyal2 says:
    Dec 6, 2011 1:39 PM
    This man could never work under Parcells or those who came from his coaching tree.

    Really? Because Schwartz got his start as an assistant with Bill Belichick, who as you may know, is a Parcells protege.

  31. Schwartz is definitely not an idiot coach. He’s just a win-at-all-costs coach. And from what has happened this season you could call him a dirty coach. I’d love to see a guy like Cowher coach the Lions, but Schwartz has earned the right to see this through. 7-5 might look like a disappointment after being 5-0, but it’s still such a huge improvement that I’d like to see what he can do the next couple of years. And despite a few flops, Linehan has done a heck of a job considering he’s working with third string running backs and a weak offensive line. We just lost to Green Bay and the Saints, I wouldn’t exactly call those easy games. We’ve done really well in games we’re supposed to win. If we get beaten at home by the Vikings, then I’ll be more concerned.

  32. Failing to admit that your team lacks discipline in the face of multiple instances showing lack of discipline is a very undisciplined position.

  33. “Hey guys, watch Schwartie’s face when I draw a flag, it’s hilarious……..O.K., ready?….

    ….OMFG, it cracks me up every time!”.

  34. “It will continue to be addressed and players that do those things won’t play,” Schwartz said.

    So I guess that means the next time Suh is penalized for a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct, we won’t see him in the following game because Schwartz won’t let him play… right?

    Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen. I’m sure what Schwartz means is that “players who are not first string stars” will not play if they commit stupid penalties. Lets be real.

  35. Watch, they’ll win their next 3 games, sit at 10-5 and everyone will praise Schwartz and talk only of the big bad Lions and how only they stand in the way of Green Bay’s 16-0 season. Forgotten in all of this is that Detroit’s defense isn’t half bad, Matthew Stafford’s broken finger looks healed and Calvin Johnson is a game changer that the Saints were triple teaming. Minnesota, Oakland and San Diego – none of these teams are better than them.

  36. Schwartz also says water is not wet, sky is not blue!

    This is a very talented young team on the verge of imploding. If Schwartz doesn’t get a handle on this immediately, he should be shown the door.

  37. Gruden?

    You are kidding, right?
    Nothing like lowering your standards! LOL

    All I can say is we have come a million miles from where we were, growing pains. The talent will prevail in the long run. The Lions are a draft away from a decade of dominance!

  38. Schwartz said it has nothing to do with discipline because he obviously doesn’t care about anything but “pre-snap penalties”. I guess in his mind that anything after the snap is just good football.

    Problem is, Jim, these post-snap penalties ARE occurring because your team isn’t disciplined, AND they’re taking your team out of games that they could’ve had a shot at winning.

  39. Coach Schwartz is proving out the Peter Principle, he has taken the Lions about as far as he can with his abilities. Martin Mayhew may want to take another look at the Lion’s options after this season ends.

    The Lions played as a unit at the beginning of the season but we’re not seeing that now. The pieces are pretty much in place they just need someone who’s able of bringing them all together.

  40. dukemarc says: Dec 6, 2011 1:29 PM

    Dominic Raoila has become the voice of reason in the Lions locker room? No wonder this team is filled with a bunch of hotheads and cheap shot artists.
    The Lions are “filled with a bunch of hotheads and cheap shot artists”? Name them all. I didn’t think so.

  41. The players reflect their coach. What do the Lions expect when Schwartz is trying to attack other coaches after handshakes, deserved or not.

  42. Wingz101- you are correct and except for the packers, the rest of games are very winable. I have a feeling this will be a wake-up call for the team, just like the last 4 games last season. Without those stupid penalties the saints game was ours to lose. Everybody and every team at some point in time has a low point, and how you react defines you as a team. After being a lions fan my whole life I will say without a doubt Schwartz is the best coach we have had. Everybody else may dog me, but its the truth. Take last season for example, when all other coaches got to the end of a horrible season they became a lameduck, but Schwartz rallied the team and that worked out well, I think he will do the same again. This is a young talented team that needs to learn the ropes of being a winning team. 9 of our 22 starters have 3 years or less experience. So there is a level of maturity that still needs to be reached obviously and when we do the NFL better watch out! So I’m gonna stick with Schwartz as long as we continue to field a winning team, which may I add hasn’t been done yet this millennium!! I had the lions going 8-8 this year, so I’m happy with the progress!!!

  43. Rarson- if the whole press conference were posted, he does address presnap penalties

  44. There are some ignorant comments here. Especially from the 49ers, Packers, and unfortunately Lions fans. Schwartz changed the losing culture in the D in less than 3 years. Be a little grateful. If they would have won one of these two last games there would be none of this talk. Give him time to rein this in.To the 9ers fans, if your lovable team had lost a few games now all we would be hearing about how Harbaughs arrogance is getting in the way of the team and affecting how they play… Which is bs too… Packers fans please keep the cheese in your mouth and shut up. Lions fans appreciate what the man has done in such short time or go back to the hole you bandwagon fans came from.

  45. For those of you who suggest changing coaches…..let me remind you that this team barely won any games before Schwartz was in Detroit. This is a case of immature young men, who need to do so growing up before they can become a good team. Also, Schwartz is still pretty new at Head Coaching. Hopefully the coach and team can grow-up this year and come back next year and be ready to play as adults. Still, 7 wins so far is encouraging.

  46. They fixed a bad pre-snap penalty problem, so I’m optimistic they can fix a bad post-whistle penalty problem. These problems are fixable.

    I’m just glad we have a smart coach who isn’t overmatched against most other NFL teams like every other Lions coach this past decade was. Don’t like his temper, but we’re 7-5 and three winnable games from the playoffs, so I can’t complain about the results.

  47. I know that if the Refs didn’t let things get out of hand in the first place none of these personal fouls would be happening. This is a League problem when the Refs let the holding , punching , and gouging go then players get frustrated and retaliate. The Refs need to start doing their jobs.

  48. Finally some posts that make sense Gordyb7, Suhisabeast90, Wisdomrules and lionsfanatic84 get the point cause they have been Lions’ fans for a while: The Lions have gone through 10 disastrous years of football. Schwartz has basically resurrected the NFL’s version of the walking dead in three short years and it was crazy to think it would not be a bumpy ride – this is one of those bumps. But here we are with three winnable games staring at us and a chance to make the playoffs.

    And some people think Schwartz should be fired and doesn’t know what he is doing?

  49. Schwartz and Mahew turned the worst franchise of the past 20 years around in less than 3 years. The Lions are experiencing growing pains with a young team (Riaola, Hansen, Vanden Bosch, Leonard Davis the main exceptions) and some need to mature a bit more before this team can progress even further.

    Can’t tell the loyalties of many of the Lions bashers posting here, but if you’re Viking fans you have no room talk about messed up organizations with bad leadership.

  50. Kinda late to begin pretending discipline matters now after a full season encouraging/ignoring the problems.

    What should have been going on – from the very first pre-season game, when a guy gets one of those penalties, he sits for the remainder of the series and you let him know that is why he is sitting. If he continues to offend, he can sit out whole quarters or not start or get a fine or even suspended if he is egregious and offending too often. Once the guys know those are the rules and see it in action – most will straighten up before it ever comes to fines or suspensions. And they will have corrected themselves before the real season starts.

  51. It wasn’t because Harbaugh “shook his hand too hard”. It was because Harbaugh showed an utter lack of respect and refused to acknowledge Schwartz as more than a mere speed bump, pushing him out of the way.

    Schwartz could have handled it better, but that’s not to say I disagree with the way he reacted.

  52. If anyone played the sport past middle school they understand what Schwartz is talking about. You don’t need a Georgetown education, but I can see where a lawyer would be confused.

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