Since starting the 2013 NFL season 6-3, the Detroit Lions have been on a free fall, losing four of their last five games. They seemingly had the NFC North won if they could have just played .500 ball at least, considering they were ahead of both the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, and both of those teams were missing their starting quarterbacks as well as some other key pieces because of injuries.
However, the Lions succumbed to their M.O. from the past few years and shot themselves in the foot once again. This is the way this team has been ever since head coach Jim Schwartz was hired.
Detroit’s problem is that they’re a simply undisciplined. Despite having many extremely talented players on each side of the ball — Matthew Stafford, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, DeAndre Levy and Louis Delmas among others — they still seem to under-perform or commit unbelievably stupid penalties or whatever to find ways to lose and disappoint the fan base once more. It’s as if the team is composed of the largest and most athletic third graders on the face of the planet. They’re just immature and don’t think about the consequences to their actions beforehand, even though it hurts the team so much in every game they lose.
The biggest enabler to this behavior, without question, is Schwartz. He’s a hothead himself, and as far as we know, he’s made zero attempts at fixing the attitude with this team, especially with his defensive line stars in Suh and Fairley. They are considered two of the dirtiest players in the league (but mostly Suh) by many players in the NFL.
Because of all this, if the Lions fail to make the postseason this year after such a good start, I don’t see how you can justify allowing Schwartz to keep his job. He’s made no effort to fix the very obvious and well-publicized issues with the team, and if the Lions ever want to improve while they’ve got such a talented roster, they need to make that change.
After this season, especially if they don’t make the playoffs, the Lions need to fire Schwartz.
And to replace him? I’ve got the perfect candidate: Lovie Smith.
Smith, the long-time coach for the Bears, would be an excellent fit in Detroit. He is the most mild-mannered, yet respect-demanding sideline roamer you can find, and he’s a big-time player’s coach. All of his years in Chicago, he always kept a strong locker room and his team went out and played their hearts out for him. And despite sometimes having rosters that lacked talent with the Bears, his team still won games because they didn’t hurt themselves. They were well disciplined and played smart football, especially defensively.
A couple days ago, I wrote about how Smith was a bad choice for the Houston Texans‘ coaching vacancy. I believe that because of what the team’s issues are right now. Their defense doesn’t need much work to get back in strong standing, but the offense is very inconsistent and they’re going to have a quarterback controversy. If there’s one guy you don’t want running a team with controversy at the QB position, it’s Lovie. He failed time and time again with the Bears for years, and when they finally got a QB in Jay Cutler, he couldn’t get the pieces around him to be successful.
However, because the Lions have such a solid offense already in place with a franchise QB and system that works for them, he doesn’t have to fix any of that. All he’d have to do is focus on running the team and fixing their issues on the defensive end of the football, which he could do very well.
The main point here is, Jim Schwartz has got to go. And if the Lions want to fix their biggest hindrances from the past few seasons, hiring Lovie Smith would be the right move to get them on the track to success. Something this Lions franchise isn’t used to.