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 Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go 
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
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ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions have received the opening kickoff all seven games this season. They have scored zero points on those seven drives.

So why do the Lions continue to take the ball every time they win the toss? Well, there's a simple answer according to coach Jim Schwartz.

"Because we have Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford," Schwartz said. "(We) like to get those guys the ball in their hands."

The Lions have gone three-and-out only once on the opening series, but have put together just two quality drives.

Detroit drove 67 yards in 10 plays against Minnesota in the season-opener, but Sam Martin couldn't handle the snap on a short field goal attempt.

In Green Bay, the Lions crossed midfield, but stalled after Stafford was sacked on first down from the Packers 42-yard line.

The Lions have lost the coin toss three times this season and the opponent has deferred each time. Schwartz admits he intended to defer to the second half in two of those games.

"We actually had a couple games this year, where we were going to defer to the second half, based on field conditions and wind, things like that. It didn't work out that way. Opponents won the toss and a couple times they deferred, put us out."

The Lions lost the toss to Chicago at home, but given what we know, it's unlikely Detroit would ever defer at home. The conditions in the dome are always ideal.

That means the team intended to send the defense out first against the Packers and Browns. Detroit was without Johnson (knee) in Green Bay and the weather conditions were sub-optimal that day in Cleveland.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch, a defensive captain, has no problem with the Lions always opting to take the ball.

"At first I used to hate it. I was like, 'Defense first, defense first, come on let's go,'" Tulloch said. "Now I like to see the offense out there, they are able to put up a drive, getting three points, seven points."

But through seven games, that has yet to happen.



its funny bc schwartz says in the above article he would defer based on conditions. way to follow your own rules, jackmunch...


December 10th, 2013, 3:52 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
I'd take Kubiack if he can make a nice play action offense work with Staff and CJ. I'm tired of them always needing a WR2, the Houston offense before this season always managed to do great things with just Andre Johnson and a good running game. I would also be happy to see an aggressive OC or HC with an OC background that will just hire a DC and let him control it. I'm not a fan of the DCs that become head coaches because they almost always play conservative on offense with a lead.


December 10th, 2013, 4:40 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
conversion02 wrote:
Can we get pat narduzzi as a DC? I love that guys game plans


I hate to say it as a UM Fan, but I like Dantonio and Narduzzi. Not sure a college coach is the answer, but there are plenty of worse choices out there.

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TheRealWags wrote:
Been hearing that Shanahan might get the axe soon, wonder what he could do with this team.......


Not interested. I think Shanahan is done as a coach. I have not been impressed with what he's done in Washington. They have some pretty solid talent there.


Never been a fan of Shanahan. He uses a simple zone blocking scheme which is why his teams have always rushed well. As the league focuses on safety and cutback blocks specifically, they may end up killing the zone blocking schemes in its current form. Even in his glory days he did not impress me as a coach.


December 10th, 2013, 8:22 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
I'd take Kubiak as an OC if the team did a complete overhaul, but I think a new HC might keep Linehan if he gets backing from Calvin and Stafford. As far as a HC I like Horton, I think he would bring some responsibility and integrity to the Lions and also get Gunther out of town. Gun is a great guy but he's a dinosaur that can't keep up with today's offenses. The front four is too talented for them to disappear for the stretches that they do. I also like Shaw but he isn't likely to leave Stanford.


December 10th, 2013, 9:51 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
The Legend wrote:
just throwing this in there - do you guys know that the lions won the coin toss in sunday's game and decided to take the ball? how on earth can anyone possibly defend that decision given the game conditions?


As much as I am not liking Schwartz right now, I think it was a smart move. Why? At noon that field wasn't all that bad. As it got closer to game time, that's when the accumulation really got bad. I believe they were thinking that in the second half it would be even worse, and kicking off would be the better option at that time. It didn't quite work out that way, but I think it was a sensible decision.

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December 10th, 2013, 10:10 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:
just throwing this in there - do you guys know that the lions won the coin toss in sunday's game and decided to take the ball? how on earth can anyone possibly defend that decision given the game conditions?


As much as I am not liking Schwartz right now, I think it was a smart move. Why? At noon that field wasn't all that bad. As it got closer to game time, that's when the accumulation really got bad. I believe they were thinking that in the second half it would be even worse, and kicking off would be the better option at that time. It didn't quite work out that way, but I think it was a sensible decision.


Schwartz confirmed in his press conference that the reason they took the ball was because the forecast at kickoff called for worse conditions as the day went on.

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December 10th, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
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Anthony Kuehn is the editor of the Detroit Lions blog Lions Gab. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Detroit Free Press nor its writers. Get in touch with Anthony at lionsgab@gmail.com or on Twitter @lionsgab.

The Detroit Lions’ playoff hopes are on thin ice and the ice gets thinner with each passing game. In a season where the Lions have been granted opportunity, in the form of injuries to every other starting quarterback in the division, they have done everything possible to blow it. Sunday was no exception.

The weather unexpectedly took a turn for the worse with a forecast of light snow at 3:00 p.m. turning into a blizzard at noon. By the time the snowfall stopped, 8 inches covered the field and both teams had to adjust to the conditions on the fly.

Adjustments, in the offseason, in season and in game, are all crucial measurements of a coaching staff and their ability to prepare their players. Sunday’s game was a perfect illustration of how much adjustments mean in the NFL and another example of the Lions’ inability to make them.

The Lions were better built for the weather conditions than the Eagles, and that was apparent in the first half. The Lions got penetration on defense and were able to move the ball on offense as they dominated the game. They came away mostly empty handed due to their inability to hold on to the football again, but still had an 8-0 lead going into halftime.

The Eagles started to make a game of it in the third quarter and early fourth, but Jeremy Ross kept the Lions alive by returning a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns. Those two touchdowns masked how badly the Lions were outplayed after the half.

Philadelphia adjusted to the weather and the offense came alive, it was aided by the Lions’ terrible tackling, but they were opening running lanes and spreading the defense out with aggressive play-calling. The Lions couldn’t adjust to covering more ground in the slippery conditions and the Eagles recognized and exploited that. They started running misdirection plays that had Lions slipping, falling and running into one another.

Conversely, the Lions kept running the same shotgun handoffs up the middle without ever challenging the defense. The announcers put up a graphic showing the height advantage the Lions had over the Eagles’ defensive backs and how that could be a huge weapon for them in those conditions. The Lions attempted one pass to Joseph Fauria in the end zone and didn’t target any other of their tall receiving threats.

Once again, the best defensive adjustment for the opponent came from the Lions’ own sideline. Calvin Johnson saw more one-on-one coverage than he has in a long time, due to the weather, yet the Lions failed to get him involved in the game. As the weather improved, the Lions became more conservative and were unable to find a way to get the ball to the best playmaker in the league. It’s a continuing narrative under this coaching staff. The Lions finally ran a receiver screen, but it was to Burleson and despite picking up good yardage, they never went back to it.

Perhaps the most egregious example of not making adjustments was reported by John Lynch in the announcers’ booth. He said he asked the Lions about what adjustments they made to stem the turnovers that have robbed this team of an easy division crown. None. The coaches have not placed any emphasis in recent weeks in curbing the plague of turnovers. The Lions have an NFL-leading 20 turnovers in their last six games, 21 if you count the blocked punt against the Buccaneers. Not only have the coaches not addressed the turnovers, they indignantly commented about how they aren’t going to stop being aggressive. Fumbling the ball as it is snapped or inside the red zone is not being aggressive, it is careless. Heaving up passes into the end zone with a 14-point lead in field goal range is reckless not aggressive. Where was the aggressiveness in the play calling Sunday? It wasn’t there, just more carelessness.

Jimmy Johnson, one of the greatest talent evaluators in NFL history, said the Lions have a roster capable of winning a Super Bowl if they can just get out of their own way. How ridiculous is that? The key to the Lions’ success is not getting healthy or some huge schematic advantage; it’s just stop making self-inflicted catastrophic mistakes. If that isn’t an indictment of this coaching staff I don’t know what is. This Lions team has made the same mistakes game after game, year after year and there hasn’t been a correction of those mistakes. If the Lions can’t adjust to their own recurring issues, how can they adjust to moves made by their opponents?


Chip Kelly found a way to not only prevent the weather from being an impediment to his team’s success; he found a way to use it to their advantage. The same way the Bucs adjusted to a tendency they saw in the film room to hit an 80-yard touchdown pass at a crucial juncture against the Lions. The same way Pittsburgh came out of the gate and attacked the Lions’ defense with routes specifically designed to exploit coverages they knew they’d see to take a 14-0 lead in the first two drives of the game.

I received some emails and comments on Twitter saying that maybe the Lions aren’t as talented as everybody thinks and that it’s the players losing these games. The players have played poorly, no doubt about that, but they started to collapse just as they reached their peak at 6-3. Not altogether different than the collapse that followed 5-0 in 2011. This is a talented roster, so talented in fact that one former NFL scout referred to the Lions job as the best job available if it were to open up after the season. That’s right, better than the vacant Texans position with the reigning NFL defensive player of the year and a pending top-five draft pick. Better than the expected opening in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris as offensive cornerstones.

Martin Mayhew has added talent to this roster and he’s found players in all different manners as well. Trades, high draft picks, low draft picks, free agents and the scrap heap. These players have shown how they can be dominant in thrashings of the then first place Bears and the Thanksgiving defeat of the Packers. The only problem is they are fully capable of blowing wins against the dregs of the NFL as well. Great coaches create an environment of consistency and then make adjustments as events warrant.

In Jim Schwartz’s first game as head coach, the Lions faced the Saints in New Orleans. The Saints ran a 4-3 defense at the time, but they knew they were facing a rookie quarterback in Matthew Stafford who was preparing all week using film of them playing a 4-3 defense. Sean Payton had the defensive coaches mix in a lot of 3-4 concepts just to confuse the rookie and it worked as the Saints crushed the Lions and Stafford completed less than half his passes and threw three interceptions. Those are the types of moves you just don’t see out of this Lions team.

Instead, the Lions line up game in and game out with the same basic game plan and while their opponents adjust to it, they keep stubbornly sticking to what isn’t working. When it does work, they puff their chests and talk about how they believe in themselves even when nobody else does. When it doesn’t work, they mostly slink away into the shadows with empty talks of “playing better.” The Detroit Lions are 2-3 in their last five games, the Jacksonville Jaguars are 4-1 and they sure aren’t doing it with the talent of the Lions’ roster. The NFL is a game of details and the difference between wins and losses is so minute that a handful of adjustments can be the difference.


Yet another indictment of the coaching staff and their inability to put the team into position to win. I've read a multitude of articles that mimic what is said in here, and have heard numerous analysts say the exact same thing.

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December 11th, 2013, 11:33 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
m2karateman wrote:
Yet another indictment of the coaching staff and their inability to put the team into position to win. I've read a multitude of articles that mimic what is said in here, and have heard numerous analysts say the exact same thing.

Yep, exactly. I agree 100%.

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December 11th, 2013, 1:01 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
To emphasize this part:

Quote:
I received some emails and comments on Twitter saying that maybe the Lions aren’t as talented as everybody thinks and that it’s the players losing these games. The players have played poorly, no doubt about that, but they started to collapse just as they reached their peak at 6-3. Not altogether different than the collapse that followed 5-0 in 2011. This is a talented roster, so talented in fact that one former NFL scout referred to the Lions job as the best job available if it were to open up after the season. That’s right, better than the vacant Texans position with the reigning NFL defensive player of the year and a pending top-five draft pick. Better than the expected opening in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris as offensive cornerstones.


December 11th, 2013, 1:06 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Blueskies wrote:
To emphasize this part:

Quote:
I received some emails and comments on Twitter saying that maybe the Lions aren’t as talented as everybody thinks and that it’s the players losing these games. The players have played poorly, no doubt about that, but they started to collapse just as they reached their peak at 6-3. Not altogether different than the collapse that followed 5-0 in 2011. This is a talented roster, so talented in fact that one former NFL scout referred to the Lions job as the best job available if it were to open up after the season. That’s right, better than the vacant Texans position with the reigning NFL defensive player of the year and a pending top-five draft pick. Better than the expected opening in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris as offensive cornerstones.

I think this is pretty accurate. As a coach, having players like Stafford and CJ would be very enticing, especially now that there seems to be a legitimate running threat in Bush & Bell. Add in a defense that (at least prior to the past couple weeks) seems to be improving, and apparently solid special teams play now as well, and you have a team with a chance to do some damage. I can see why any coach would want to have this team.

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December 11th, 2013, 1:13 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Other than the 5-0 start in 2011, whats the longest winning streak during Schwartz' tenure?

4 - weeks 14-17 2010
3 - weeks 14-16 2011
2 - weeks 8 - 9 2012 & weeks 3 - 4 2013

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December 11th, 2013, 1:39 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
And we haven't had back-to-back wins at home for his entire coaching career here, which doesn't bode well for Monday night.


December 11th, 2013, 1:59 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
To emphasize this part:

Quote:
I received some emails and comments on Twitter saying that maybe the Lions aren’t as talented as everybody thinks and that it’s the players losing these games. The players have played poorly, no doubt about that, but they started to collapse just as they reached their peak at 6-3. Not altogether different than the collapse that followed 5-0 in 2011. This is a talented roster, so talented in fact that one former NFL scout referred to the Lions job as the best job available if it were to open up after the season. That’s right, better than the vacant Texans position with the reigning NFL defensive player of the year and a pending top-five draft pick. Better than the expected opening in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris as offensive cornerstones.

I think this is pretty accurate. As a coach, having players like Stafford and CJ would be very enticing, especially now that there seems to be a legitimate running threat in Bush & Bell. Add in a defense that (at least prior to the past couple weeks) seems to be improving, and apparently solid special teams play now as well, and you have a team with a chance to do some damage. I can see why any coach would want to have this team.


True, as long as the players fit whatever schemes the new coaching staff brings in - which is never a given. You wouldn't want a QB like Staff running the WCO, or CJ in a run and shoot or greatest show on turf type offense, or our DL in a 3-4 scheme, or our OL in certain zone blocking schemes. I've seen what happened to Dallas switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 Tampa 2 Def, what a mess as they are breaking all kinds of records for defensive futility.

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December 11th, 2013, 2:10 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Pablo wrote:
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
Blueskies wrote:
To emphasize this part:

Quote:
I received some emails and comments on Twitter saying that maybe the Lions aren’t as talented as everybody thinks and that it’s the players losing these games. The players have played poorly, no doubt about that, but they started to collapse just as they reached their peak at 6-3. Not altogether different than the collapse that followed 5-0 in 2011. This is a talented roster, so talented in fact that one former NFL scout referred to the Lions job as the best job available if it were to open up after the season. That’s right, better than the vacant Texans position with the reigning NFL defensive player of the year and a pending top-five draft pick. Better than the expected opening in Washington with Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris as offensive cornerstones.

I think this is pretty accurate. As a coach, having players like Stafford and CJ would be very enticing, especially now that there seems to be a legitimate running threat in Bush & Bell. Add in a defense that (at least prior to the past couple weeks) seems to be improving, and apparently solid special teams play now as well, and you have a team with a chance to do some damage. I can see why any coach would want to have this team.


True, as long as the players fit whatever schemes the new coaching staff brings in - which is never a given. You wouldn't want a QB like Staff running the WCO, or CJ in a run and shoot or greatest show on turf type offense, or our DL in a 3-4 scheme, or our OL in certain zone blocking schemes. I've seen what happened to Dallas switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 Tampa 2 Def, what a mess as they are breaking all kinds of records for defensive futility.
Agreed, but that falls on Mayhew and, at this point, I trust him enough to hire the right staff.

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December 11th, 2013, 2:21 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
FoxSports wrote:
Dye: Mayhew seems safe, but what about Schwartz?
DAVE DYE | Published: Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 12:43pm

General manager Martin Mayhew has probably saved his job, if it was indeed in jeopardy, but coach Jim Schwartz potentially remains on the hot seat going into the final three weeks of the season.

The perception after winning only four games last year was that both Mayhew and Schwartz - Schwartz more so - were in danger of losing their jobs but eventually were given one more chance to prove themselves.

Only the Ford ownership group really knows if that was true or not, but if so, Mayhew arguably should be safe now while Schwartz's future could come down to pass-or-fail on whether the Lions end up winning their first division title in two decades.

The growing opinion when it comes to the Lions is that they shouldn't be in such a tight race in the NFC North at this point, not with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Jay Cutler of Chicago out with injuries for several weeks.

Johnson went so far as to say he thinks the Lions have enough talent to win the Super Bowl, even suggested they might be the most talented team in the league, but he also called them a "sloppy" and "undisciplined" group that is "easily distracted."

That sounds like the definition of an underachieving team, and that ultimately falls on the head coach.

Assessments like those from Johnson only put more pressure on Schwartz while validating Mayhew's work.

The rap on the Detroit GM has been that he misses on way too many draft picks. Sure, he hit on no-brainers such as Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh - so could your grandmother - but it's the other decisions made in the second round and later that show a true eye for being able to identify talent.

However, with all the unrestricted free agents the Lions had at the end of last season, you can argue that Mayhew couldn't have done a much better job of overhauling this roster.

The addition of running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin filled major voids through free agency, but the draft also played a big role.

Mayhew got it right this time.

Defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (fifth pick overall) and offensive guard Larry Warford (third round) have made an immediate impact. Cornerback Darius Slay (second round) had a tough transition at a difficult position, but he showed recent signs of improvement before suffering a knee injury.

Sam Martin (fifth round) has had some ups and downs, but he's still been one of the top punters in the league overall.

The Lions are also getting contributions from defensive end Devin Taylor (fourth round) and running back/special-teams player Theo Riddick (sixth round), along with undrafted rookies such as tight end Joseph Fauria and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle.

The performance at left tackle by Riley Reiff, a first-round pick in 2012, has proven to be a wise choice, too, after some initial skepticism.

When he does get something wrong, give Mayhew some credit for trying to fix it. Micheal Spurlock didn't work out as a return specialist, but Jeremy Ross, who was signed in October after getting released by Green Bay, came through with both punt and kick returns for touchdowns Sunday at Philadelphia.

The one area that Mayhew hasn't had any success shoring up is at cornerback, even though that's the position he played for nine years in the NFL. The Lions have drafted four corners in the last two years - Bill Bentley (third round in 2012), Chris Greenwood (fifth round, 2012), Jonte Green (sixth round, 2012) and Slay - but it remains a glaring weakness.

That needs to be addressed much better before next season, but for the most part, Mayhew did a solid job revamping the lineup for Schwartz.

It appeared to be working, too, and it still might. The Lions once were 6-3 and seemed ready to cruise into the playoffs, but they've since lost three of their last four games. The turning point remains a failed fake field goal when they had a four-point lead in the fourth quarter at Pittsburgh in Week 11, a decision for which Schwartz was widely criticized.

Instead of taking control of the race, Detroit is now tied with Chicago at 7-6. Green Bay is a half-step behind at 6-6-1.

No Rodgers, no Cutler, a seemingly comfortable lead not that long ago for the Lions, who have also clinched the tiebreaker with both the Bears and the Packers.

It begs the question: If not now, under these favorable circumstances, then when?

At times, the Lions really do look like a legitimate Super Bowl contender (total domination of the Packers in the trenches on Thanksgiving Day), but then they revert to their old ways (tied for second-most turnovers in the league, including 20 in the last six games).

Will the real Detroit Lions please stand up, and remain standing.

In fairness to him, Schwartz inherited an absolute mess when he took over in 2009 following a winless season. He got the Lions to the playoffs with a wildcard berth two years ago while winning 10 games, but the severity of last season's regression was alarming.

There's an incredible amount of baggage that goes with this franchise. Schwartz is still trying to work through it, but that hasn't been easy, not even in his fifth season.

Just when you think it's going away, the mysterious dark cloud over the organization - "Same Old Lions," the Murphy's Law of the NFL - has a way of reappearing.

Still, they're in good position to finish this off the right way. How you get there - the rollercoaster ride - really doesn't matter in the end.

Don't forget, no one saw the last three Super Bowl champions coming at this time of the year:

*Baltimore lost four of its last five games last season. There were eight teams who finished with better records than the Ravens (10-6).

* The New York Giants had lost four straight and were 6-6 after 12 games two years ago. Nine teams finished higher than the Giants (9-7).

* Three years ago, Green Bay was 8-6 going into the final two weeks. Seven teams ended up winning more games than the Packers (10-6).

It's agonizing for fans to watch their teams go through such ups and downs, but that's the beauty of the NFL.

You just don't know.

More than likely, the Lions are going to regroup and win at least two, if not all three remaining games, finish with nine or 10 wins on the season, clinch the division and host a playoff game against either Carolina or San Francisco.

If that doesn't happen, you know who will be blamed for it.

At least he's not scared

http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/nfl/det ... eedID=3701
Agree with the premise, Mayhew is, or should be, safe. Schwartz' seat should be on fire.

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December 11th, 2013, 2:23 pm
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