That might sound like a stupid question because of how obviously Jim Schwartz’s job is in extreme danger. In fact, if the Detroit Lions lose against the Minnesota Vikings he might not even get on the lake-jumper plane that takes him back to his very temporary Detroit home. The coach, no matter what team or what sport, gets blamed whenever a team with potential on paper has multiple subpar seasons. I mean really a lot of coaches get fired much quicker than The Schwartz, whether they have the kind of contract he has or not. There have been countless cases where the coach has been fired too quickly and blamed for what is really a players problem on the team. So it’s important the Lions take the extra second to consider what really went wrong this season.
Everyone, including myself, gripes about the undisciplined nature of the Lions this season. Really it seems like over a decade of undisciplined football. It’s hard not to blame that on coaching. None of the coaches who worked for the Lions in the past forever have had any success after the Lions. So what does that mean? Does their reputation get so destroyed after muddling the Lions further into the ground that they can’t make a decent comeback? Or is there something about the Lions front office that causes players to feel like they can be stupid and keep a job? On the other hand, is it possible the Lions have just had an endless string of undisciplined players for thirty years?
In short, it has to be coaching. Even if the Lions have somehow opened up a strange wormhole that teleports discipline-challenged players to the field, a decent coach should be able to handle that. As far as the inept offense that should be racking up 35 points a game, that’s likely on coordinator Scott Linehan. To be honest, he is almost more likely to be fired than Schwartz. If the Lions somehow don’t fire Schwartz, they still might give Linehan a one-way bus ticket to North Carolina. I hear Duke is looking for an offensive coordinator that can make sure they get back to their usual mediocrity in the ACC. On the defensive side, Schwartz came in an experienced defensive coordinator, so the blame will go to him for sure.
So what do the players want? For the most part, they continue to support Schwartz, and maybe for good reason. He does seem very loyal to his players. When the crowd booed before overtime against the New York Giants, Schwartz looked to show visible disdain towards the crowd and may have even shouted an obscenity depending on your lip-reading interpretation. He continues to let the players deal with their own issues and doesn’t really get on their case that much when a mistake is made. Of course the players like that stuff. However, maybe they don’t need a loyal buddy; maybe they need a head coach.