Schwartz steps into firing line


Late in last year’s 4-12 embarrassment by the Lions, coach Jim Schwartz’s name began to emerge as a candidate to be canned.  It was believed the buyout on the extension he earned via a 2011 playoff run saved him.

This year, the Lions are one year deeper into the contract, making it cheaper to not keep Schwartz.  Conventional wisdom is that, with the Lions officially out of the postseason chase, Schwartz will be out of a job.

Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, ESPN reported Sunday that it would cost the Lions $12 million to part ways with Schwartz, who has a contract that expires after the 2015 season.  ESPN also reported that the Lions are beginning the process of identifying candidates to replace Schwartz, who has held the job since 2009, if Schwartz is replaced.

Sunday’s loss to the Giants becomes more glaring in the wake of those reports, given that both the Packers and Bears lost as well.  If the Lions had managed to hold off the woeful Giants in overtime, the Detroit would be back in the driver’s seat for the NFC North crown.

Instead, the Lions have nothing to play for as they head to Minnesota to close out the Metrodome.  And with six days to go until a season of unfulfilled expectations ends, running back Reggie Bush’s recent words continue to resonate.

Bush called the Lions undisciplined, but he added that he doesn’t blame Schwartz for it.  Still, few believe the blame for an undisciplined team doesn’t flow to the head coach.

The challenge for many football coaches is to take a group of guys who possibly lack discipline and get them to play with discipline.  Schwartz’s mentor with the Titans, Jeff Fisher, has made a career out of getting guys with a little edge to them to avoid jumping over the line — even if plenty of them tiptoe on the wrong side of it from time to time.  And as one league insider pointed out Sunday, Hall of Fame coach John Madden showed that he could get a band of Raiders renegades to play with discipline far more often than not.

In both perception and reality, a lack of discipline has kept a talented Lions team from fulfilling its potential.  Add to the lack of discipline a void of player leadership, and it’s no surprise that the Lions have been unable to remain competitive in a division that otherwise has fallen apart this year.

As a result, it won’t be a surprise if Schwartz ends up done in Detroit, possibly rejoining Fisher in St. Louis next season.

31 responses to “Schwartz steps into firing line

  1. Jeff Fisher is his mentor? Explains everything. That guy is the king of middling performance.

  2. After all the disappointment the last few weeks they still had an opportunity to play for the division title next week. Way to step up boys.

    I can’t believe I had any hope that they would prove they were a decent team. With Schwartz knowing full well he was coaching for his job he failed to get his guys motivated enough to win. He should have pulled Stafford and put in Hill. Turnovers are what killed them once again and Hill at least takes care of the ball.

    The fact that they are 4-1 in the NFC north shows just how bad the division was this year. If GB and CHI were healthy all year the Lions would be a 4-10 team.

  3. I would think that he would have his walking papers by the end of the day today. The G.M. might want to start looking for a real estate agent as well. The people in Detroit have it tough enough as it is. To see what the Lions are producing on the field makes it even tougher. The owner needs to make a change today. Give the people of Detroit something to look forward to for Christmas. A chance to win next year.

  4. He’s clearly a bad coach. If they bring in a real head coach there, the Lions could do something. Talent on both sides of the ball.

  5. The stench of Matt Millen still permeates this team, and will for another decade.
    As a Falcon fan, the fact that the Lions have not been to the playoff for about 15 years makes me feel better about my team.
    Schwartz is good for something, anyway.

  6. Matthew Stafford is absolutely lost on the playing field. He and his receivers are using different playbooks. He has missed open receivers ad noseum, missing massive targets like Calvin 6’5, Pettigrew 6’6, Fauria 6’7 and his college mate at 6’6. Think how terrible those throws must be to negate those catching radii. Schwartz is being routinely out-coached to the point that he seems so distracted by not making mistakes he not seeing obvious dekes in tactics, like the elder Harbaugh employed last week. The OC’s play selection is at a high school level, grade school in Texas. So what man can come into Detroit and fix the myriad of issues and problems and culture? Sorry Detroit, Gruden and Cowher ain’t comin’. Who can fix Stafford, Archie Manning, Steve Young ? Problem is Matty Stafford doesn’t think he HAS a problem and Schwartz convinced him of this.

  7. Can we also have Martin Mayhew fired? He was part of Matt Millens crew and has drafted terrible since being here.29-50 is not all on Schwartz. I contend Brian Xanders joining last year was the difference in this last draft and maybe he should take over as GM

  8. The Lions are like that crazy ex girlfriend that always fights with you but has that banging bod that you can’t get away from and you always take her back.

    I’m 26 years old and have never ever got to see a winner, I always cuss my dad out for brainwashing me to like this crappy franchise that for some reason I can’t quit, being loyal really sucks.

  9. They gave him an extension that paid him $6 million per year? That’s why the Lions will always be the Lions. Where do the fans find hope in this franchise?

  10. I Lions always play just good enough to give their fans hope. Then they painfully crush that hope.

  11. It’s about time. They need to change this swagger attitude, starting with the coach. Hopefully they bring in Lovie Smith, but I could see them picking up whatever head coach gets fired from another team. Piss poor personnel decisions cost this team…

  12. “Tell me Ralphie, where did you learn to underachieve like that?”

    “It.. It was.. It was.. SCHWARTZ!!!”

  13. Let’s face it, Lions will not fire anyone. The talking heads love to end careers but the people seem to stay. Lions have a history of keeping coaches and general managers well beyond their usefulness. It is sad that with every other team in their division hurt, the Lions failed at taking the division. Lots of talent, no coaching.

  14. Maybe if he spent more time trying to win the game and less scolding the fans for booing, he would be looking at a playoff berth.

    The guy is mentally weak. I mean, what pro coach chastises his own fans for not pumping up the team? And isn’t that his job anyways? You’ve got 53 guys out there, going to OT with their season on the line. There is no reason for gin to even be looking at the crowd, let alone engaging it.

    It’s always someone else’s fault with this guy.

  15. This arrogant clown is 29-50 so far as the lions HC and 1 playoff appearance. But the way he struts his crap around and talks down to the media you’d think he was Belichick 2.0. I say good riddance and enjoy your new HC position at Slippery Rock.

  16. And the thing I think Schwartz totally missed on that was that all the booing was for the coaching staff. The players weren’t being booed for taking a knee. The crowd knows that they don’t call taking a knee in the huddle…it comes from Linehan on the sideline.

    The Lions need a proven winner to take this team over, and the front office needs to offer whatever money it takes to bring in that guy.

  17. There are a probably more than a few head coaches looking for work next year. As far as Schwartz is concerned I have been pretty indifferent about him during his tenure in Detroit.
    But this is a results driven league and for whatever reason he didn’t get it done here, so I expect to see him go.
    In my opinion he was coaching to save his job. The Lions sat back and tried to protect leads instead of attacking teams who were behind, and time after time they paid for it.

  18. The NFC Central used to be such a tough division in the 1990’s (minus the Bucs)

    It’s kinda sad what’s happened to the Vikings & Lions, and the Bears are soft now. It’s almost like it’s too easy for the Packers these days, and even they can’t get it together!

  19. .

    Usually the truth lies in the skill level of your roster. The Lions roster is clearly above average. Their record is not.


  20. Schwartz will soon join that elite list of former Lions coaches who have gone on to never being a head coach in the Nfl again. This job and franchise are cursed. This franchise is a career killer

  21. Schwartz didn’t throw interceptions. He doesn’t fumble. He is not the reason for the issues. Coming from a Browns fan, you cannot blame this all on him, and you will not succeed if you constantly make changes OR allow the fans for force changes in coaching or line up. Coaching changes are for when the coach is inept or inneffective (see Browns Shumur) and when the message gets stale and the team seems to be tuning the coach out (see Jags Coughlin and maybe Giants Coughlin).

    The team has to learn how to win. Give him another year. How many losses have the Lions had this year that you can blame on coaching and not the players? Give him another year.

  22. Thanks for 1 good season. We need a coach who can take this team to the next level and get the best out of its stars. All you had to do was win 2 of the 7 games in which you blew leads in the 4th quarter and you’d be division champs already. Worst second half collapse in history. I want a coach who doesn’t tolerate BS or excuses.

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