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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
I have no doubt Schwartz will be the coach next year. The front office just has no idea how to recognize failure.

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December 18th, 2013, 6:13 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
The Legend wrote:

it appears to me that mayhew is the one that burned the bridge, avril wanted to come back - he was even jealous of Tulloch's contract the previous year even though it was for far less money than Avril got per year. as for Houston there were many other corners of equal talent that went for peanuts on the open market compared to what he got. fact is mayhew blew his wad on the open market before getting a feel for how that market was going to play out at cornerback. so yes there was a need but Houston didn't have a great season last year - certainly not as good as avrils and this season he s flat out awful. for some reason a 5yr/$25 million deal that has yielded next to zero production cant be criticized? yes avril would be getting paid more than Houston but the Lions should be paying for production rather than filling a need by massively overpaying a guy who can no longer produce. they could have been throwing in jonte green all season and gotten the same amount of productivity as Houston this year. Mayhew had a good offseason but his best moves were made for the future (rookies picks and undrafteds) not for immediate success (except Bush) and that is Schwartz best argument in front of the Fords to keeping his job.


So the signing of Glover Quin means nothing? If he had signed Avril for the money he wanted, that means you don't get Houston or Quin. Our needs in the secondary were much greater than our needs at DE. Avril was pissed off he didn't get a four or five year deal offered to him the year before.

The talent is there, and everyone knows it. THAT is Mayhew's job, and he's done a pretty solid job of getting that roster put together. Yes, he's made some mistakes. Name one GM that doesn't. The team is not meeting its goals, and it has nothing to do with not having the talent to get it done. That's the bottom line.

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December 18th, 2013, 10:07 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:

it appears to me that mayhew is the one that burned the bridge, avril wanted to come back - he was even jealous of Tulloch's contract the previous year even though it was for far less money than Avril got per year. as for Houston there were many other corners of equal talent that went for peanuts on the open market compared to what he got. fact is mayhew blew his wad on the open market before getting a feel for how that market was going to play out at cornerback. so yes there was a need but Houston didn't have a great season last year - certainly not as good as avrils and this season he s flat out awful. for some reason a 5yr/$25 million deal that has yielded next to zero production cant be criticized? yes avril would be getting paid more than Houston but the Lions should be paying for production rather than filling a need by massively overpaying a guy who can no longer produce. they could have been throwing in jonte green all season and gotten the same amount of productivity as Houston this year. Mayhew had a good offseason but his best moves were made for the future (rookies picks and undrafteds) not for immediate success (except Bush) and that is Schwartz best argument in front of the Fords to keeping his job.


So the signing of Glover Quin means nothing? If he had signed Avril for the money he wanted, that means you don't get Houston or Quin. Our needs in the secondary were much greater than our needs at DE. Avril was pissed off he didn't get a four or five year deal offered to him the year before.

The talent is there, and everyone knows it. THAT is Mayhew's job, and he's done a pretty solid job of getting that roster put together. Yes, he's made some mistakes. Name one GM that doesn't. The team is not meeting its goals, and it has nothing to do with not having the talent to get it done. That's the bottom line.


And we're much better against the run without Avril. I think that bears mentioning.

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December 18th, 2013, 10:24 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
More coaching issues?
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Schwartz vouches for Stafford
Posted by Mike Florio on December 17, 2013, 4:35 PM EST

In the offseason, the Lions gave quarterback Matthew Stafford a fat new contract. As a result, they’re now stuck with him — no matter how poorly he plays in crunch time of key games.

On Monday night, Stafford threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions, dragging his passer rating in the final fifteen minutes of the last five games down to 29.5. Before last night, Stafford had a fourth-quarter passer rating of 30.2 in the prior four games.

Still, coach Jim Schwartz (who soon may not be coaching Stafford or any other members of the team) vouches for the first overall pick in the 2009 draft.

“I think he’s an accurate passer,” Schwartz told the media at his day-after press conference, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Matt’s a very mechanically sound quarterback.”

Stafford wasn’t very accurate last night. And if by “mechanically sound” Schwartz means, “He has a release point ranging from John Unitas to Kent Tekulve and all points in between,” then Stafford is indeed mechanically sound.

Two days after Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called out Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for calling an audible at the worst possible time, it’s actually good that Schwartz has Stafford’s back. Schwartz knows that, if the team is going to climb out of this funk and save Schwartz’s job, Stafford will be leading the way.

“I think we hold all our players to a high standard, but we also don’t publicly shame them,” Schwartz said Monday, in what possibly represents a backhanded slap from the Georgetown-educated coach at the Princeton alum who coaches in Dallas.

Regardless, the Lions are stuck with Stafford. They became stuck with him when they extended his contract in order to drive down a sky-high 2013 cap number. Including the guaranteed money he’ll earn under the extension, Stafford definitely will have earned nearly $100 million by the time the non-guaranteed portion of the latest contract kicks in. (Which is likely the point Jon Gruden was trying to clumsily make last night when he referred to Stafford earning “$94 million guaranteed.”)

But what has the man who went to Bobby Layne’s high school really done to lift Layne’s curse on the Lions? A yardage machine over the last three seasons, Stafford has posted a 24-35 record as a starter, with only one one-and-out playoff appearance.

Still, Stafford rarely gets criticized for failing to step up and lead the Lions to the kind of results their roster should generate. Though he seems like a very nice guy, he doesn’t seem to hold teammates accountable, publicly or privately.

In 2012, Stafford tolerated a string of bad-character guys whose behavior conspired to throw the season off the tracks. Earlier this year, when Super Bowl-winning tailback Reggie Bush thought a players-only meeting was needed, Stafford disagreed.


For all the criticism that Romo draws Stafford’s home state of Texas, Stafford consistently gets a pass in Michigan and beyond. Maybe we don’t expect much from the Lions because, well, they’re just the Lions. And maybe they’ll continue to be just the Lions until Stafford starts acting less like an undrafted quarterback from Eastern Illinois who has been living on house money and more like a No. 1 overall pick in the draft who expects himself and everyone around him to get the very most from their God-given skills and abilities.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... -stafford/

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December 18th, 2013, 10:25 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Stafford is a microcosm of the Lions in general.

Sometimes -- for a few series, a few quarters, or even a game or two -- he plays on the level of Peyton Manning, and everyone starts calling him elite.

Othertimes, he plays like a total bum.

I'm not sure why he's so inconsistent. Maybe he'll always be that way, and the Lions will be stuck with their version of Tony Romo for the next 5 years.

But at least bring in a new coaching staff and see if they can get him to be more consistent. There's nothing to lose trying.


December 18th, 2013, 10:38 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
I think that still comes down to coaching. Linehan scoffs at the idea of QB coaches, so if you want to look at how little he's being helped, it's directly on Linehan for not believing it would help, and Schwartz for going along with it.

For all the numbers he's put up, he's still 25. He still has a lot of playing time left and he needs to be coached up more, which he isn't getting now.


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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
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Lions Gab: Coaching change needed, but is there a better option?
December 18, 2013

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.

Last week I said the Detroit Lions' “playoff hopes are on thin ice and the ice gets thinner with each passing game.”

Monday night, they fell through the ice. The Lions finally surrendered their playoff destiny to the Bears and Packers, neither of which should have ever been in the position to possess that destiny.

Here’s a disturbing/disgusting fact. The Green Bay Packers have a 2-4-1 record without Aaron Rodgers. The Bears went 3-4 without Jay Cutler and the Vikings have gone 3-3-1 with whoever they've had at quarterback over the last seven weeks since the Lions “had the division crown in their hands.” The Lions however, managed to go 2-4 since Rodgers got hurt.

In all fairness to the Lions, they have lost their franchise quarterback too, he seemingly has been replaced with a turnover-prone imitation.

It is abundantly clear that there need to be changes in the offseason, but the only problem is the Lions may be a year late on changing coaches. I fully supported Jim Schwartz coming back this season because he deserved the opportunity to show he had learned from the mistakes of last season. This year, the team has emphatically shown they have not learned from past mistakes.

However, last season may have been the prime opportunity to land a new coach and this year the pickings could be very slim.

Here are the coaches that were hired last offseason along with a brief synopsis of their seasons’ so far:

Rob Chudzinski, Browns: Cleveland is still a mess in a lot of ways, but they were short on talent and full of dysfunction. They have a solid defense and some good pieces on offense, they really are a quarterback away from making a jump into the competition in the AFC North. So far, they are 4-10 after finishing 5-11 last season, but they have played well with Jason Campbell.

Chip Kelly, Eagles: Kelly had made drastic changes from top to bottom in the Eagles organization and after some early bumps they are on a roll. He implemented new methods for training, eating and practicing as well as a new up tempo offense. The Eagles are fighting for a playoff spot just a year after finishing 4-12. He has also taken a third round draft pick in Nick Foles and turned him into one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league this season.

Marc Trestman, Bears: While the Bears were unable to beat the Lions, they have fared very well against everybody else. Trestman has proven to be a smart play-caller and uses advanced analytics to assist in game management. He has constructed a very potent offense and experienced incredible success despite losing his starting quarterback for an extended period. The only thing holding the Bears back has been a severely depleted defense that has been their Achilles’ heel. The Bears were 10-6 in 2012, but it was more of a mirage than an actual good performance (for reference see the 2013 Detroit Lions.)

Andy Reid, Chiefs: Reid needed a change of scenery and to back out of the front office responsibilities he had in Philadelphia. He accomplished both with the Chiefs and has stormed out to an 11-3 record after inheriting the worst team in the NFL in 2012. The Chiefs had a talented roster in 2012, but did not maximize that talent.

Doug Marrone, Bills: The Bills went 6-10 last year and should finish right about in that range this season as they sit at 5-9. Marrone took over a struggling franchise and has made strides in Year 1. The team has minimal talent to work with and they lost starter EJ Manuel for several games in the middle of the season. They played with a backup they acquired from the Lions in a preseason trade as well as an undrafted rookie free agent, which skews their record some, but they remained competitive even with the injuries.

Mike McCoy, Chargers: The Chargers were one of the bigger messes to inherit this offseason as they had been run into the ground by AJ Smith and his feuds with his coaches. McCoy revitalized Phillip Rivers and has developed a potent offense. The defense remains a work in progress but they just manhandled one of the greatest offenses of the modern era last Thursday and got a signature win over the Broncos.

Bruce Arians, Cardinals: The Cardinals have an amazing defense and a lot of talent at the skill positions, they have been doomed by awful quarterbacking and a porous offensive line. Arians has them in the playoff hunt after finishing 5-11 in 2012. The offensive line is still an area of concern, but they have gotten the job done with Carson Palmer at quarterback.

Gus Bradley, Jaguars: The Jacksonville Jaguars are the closest thing the league has seen to the 2008 Detroit Lions in terms of talent, yet Bradley has them riding a 4-2 stretch since starting 0-8. Yes, that is correct, the team with Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne has won two more games than the Lions in the last six weeks.

The 2013 rookie head coaches are shaping up to be one of the better groups in recent memory. Obviously, it is still early on but they all are competitive football teams with a few potentially finding their way into the playoffs and Reid in the driver’s seat for coach of the year.

Who is available this offseason if the Lions were to fire Jim Schwartz? Lovie Smith could be a candidate, but he will draw a lot of interest and I’m not sure I trust his ability to repair the dysfunction on offense for the Lions, as that was his undoing in Chicago. Jon Gruden’s name always pops up each offseason, but I see him wanting more front office power than what he’d get in Detroit and his shtick wears off after a couple of seasons and teams turn on him.

Mike Zimmer (Bengals defensive coordinator), Jay Gruden (Bengals offensive coordinator), Greg Roman (49ers offensive coordinator), Darrell Bevell (Seahawks offensive coordinator), Pep Hamilton (Colts offensive coordinator), Adam Gase (Broncos offensive coordinator), Mel Tucker (Bears defensive coordinator) and Jack Del Rio (Broncos defensive coordinator) are all interesting candidates but all have no or limited experience as head coaches, or in the case of Del Rio, limited success as a head coach.

David Shaw, Kevin Sumlin, Art Briles and Bill O’Brien are hot college coaching names, but Shaw is likely to stay at Stanford and Sumlin and Briles have had a lot of success running read option attacks which definitely wouldn’t be a strong point for the Lions. O’Brien gets a lot of credit for the adversity he has dealt with at Penn State, but he’s another Belichick disciple and they have not had much success as head coaches in the NFL.

Personally, I believe the best fit for the Lions is a defensive coach that can bring in a strong offensive coordinator to maximize the under-performing talent the Lions have on that side of the ball. Offensive coaches tend to want to call plays as head coaches and they make a lot of game management mistakes because they are too focused on one side of the ball.

Lions fans need to consider the possibility that Jim Schwartz may not be fired because there are not suitable candidates to replace him. NFL front offices don’t fire coaches if they don’t have some candidates that they are comfortable with that are interested in the job. The only thing more damaging than keeping a coach that hasn’t been able to cut it is replacing him with somebody new that you don’t believe in.

If that is the case, I think a likely scenario would have Jim Schwartz returning, but the offensive staff being let go. The Lions have sunk a ton of resources into the offense, especially into Matthew Stafford, who is still the franchise quarterback. Stafford needs a strong coach that will stress the importance of good decision making, technique and ball security. Clearly, they don’t have that now.

The defense has actually been very solid and has been keeping the team afloat while the offense keeps shooting holes in the bottom of the boat with record amounts of turnovers. My biggest concern with Schwartz is the stupid mistakes and lack of discipline, but if you take away the offensive mistakes, the defenses biggest problem is jumping offsides.

One way or another, there should be drastic changes to the Lions’ coaching staff even if they back into the playoffs. This team had a golden opportunity and blew it in 2013, and depending of what coaches are available and interested after the season, they may have blown two golden opportunities in 2013.

http://www.freep.com/article/20131218/S ... nge-needed

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December 18th, 2013, 11:06 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
I don't buy the "well there's no one else out there" argument at all.

Was anyone really clamoring for Rob Chudzinski, Marc Trestman, or Gus Bradley last year?

There's always someone else out there.


December 18th, 2013, 11:29 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
I was listening to 2 sports radio show this morning snd both made it a point to say that there is NO WAY Swartz stays on the team at the end of the year. While thats no lock, it certanly was encouraging

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December 18th, 2013, 12:01 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
regularjoe12 wrote:
I was listening to 2 sports radio show this morning snd both made it a point to say that there is NO WAY Swartz stays on the team at the end of the year. While thats no lock, it certanly was encouraging


I have to agree, that 61-yard kick seemed to seal both the Lions fate and that of the head coach. There is a remote possibility that they win the last two games and sneak in and then who knows what happens.

I have a real hard time seeing him back next year. Then again to WCF loyalty is of upmost importance and I had a real hard time seeing Millen back year after year and it kept happening until 0-16. So it certainly is no lock!

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December 18th, 2013, 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Pablo wrote:
regularjoe12 wrote:
I was listening to 2 sports radio show this morning snd both made it a point to say that there is NO WAY Swartz stays on the team at the end of the year. While thats no lock, it certanly was encouraging


I have to agree, that 61-yard kick seemed to seal both the Lions fate and that of the head coach. There is a remote possibility that they win the last two games and sneak in and then who knows what happens.

I have a real hard time seeing him back next year. Then again to WCF loyalty is of upmost importance and I had a real hard time seeing Millen back year after year and it kept happening until 0-16. So it certainly is no lock!

The good news on that front is Jr is now in charge. i dont think he'll carry that loyalty banner to such extremes....one can hope anyways.

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December 18th, 2013, 12:36 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
m2karateman wrote:
The Legend wrote:

it appears to me that mayhew is the one that burned the bridge, avril wanted to come back - he was even jealous of Tulloch's contract the previous year even though it was for far less money than Avril got per year. as for Houston there were many other corners of equal talent that went for peanuts on the open market compared to what he got. fact is mayhew blew his wad on the open market before getting a feel for how that market was going to play out at cornerback. so yes there was a need but Houston didn't have a great season last year - certainly not as good as avrils and this season he s flat out awful. for some reason a 5yr/$25 million deal that has yielded next to zero production cant be criticized? yes avril would be getting paid more than Houston but the Lions should be paying for production rather than filling a need by massively overpaying a guy who can no longer produce. they could have been throwing in jonte green all season and gotten the same amount of productivity as Houston this year. Mayhew had a good offseason but his best moves were made for the future (rookies picks and undrafteds) not for immediate success (except Bush) and that is Schwartz best argument in front of the Fords to keeping his job.


So the signing of Glover Quin means nothing? If he had signed Avril for the money he wanted, that means you don't get Houston or Quin. Our needs in the secondary were much greater than our needs at DE. Avril was pissed off he didn't get a four or five year deal offered to him the year before.

The talent is there, and everyone knows it. THAT is Mayhew's job, and he's done a pretty solid job of getting that roster put together. Yes, he's made some mistakes. Name one GM that doesn't. The team is not meeting its goals, and it has nothing to do with not having the talent to get it done. That's the bottom line.


I missed Quinn, really like his signing.

if im going to give credit where credit is due to mayhew then im also going to reserve the right to criticize bad moves. Houston had an average season but got one of the top paid deals of all corners on the market and has followed up a mediocre season with a downright putrid one. I don't think I understand how overpaid mediocre player fits the description of team needs in the NFL especially when players of equal talent are available at much lower cost. delmas though he s been playing has made a lot of gaffes mostly bc his injury history lets him practice only once a week. its a plus over amari spievey/erik coleman/silva. so they did spend some fairly big money on the secondary and they got better at safety and stayed about par or worse on the corners. as for not having needs at DE - I totally disagree. KVB was awful last year, LoJack was returning to Seattle bust form and now we know he was disgruntled, Willie Young showed potential without production past age 27. if there was no need at DE would the Lions really sign one as a priority free agent, use two picks - one of them a 1st rounder, and then get another name player in Israel Idonije in the 2nd wave of free agency? he did great with the young guys poorly with the free agents but doesn't Schwartz deserve some credit for having taylor and ansah play beyond expectations.

before singing mayhew s praises based on the instant draft result I wanna see how he does without a top 5 pick, without tanking a season so bad that the coaches got to scout for themselves at the senior bowl. alternatively, maybe xanders is the one with the real eye for college talent and as a former GM if he can repeat that performance we might be wondering if the Lions should can Mayhew and hire Xanders before some other team makes him there new GM.


December 18th, 2013, 11:49 pm
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
The Legend wrote:
I missed Quinn, really like his signing.

if im going to give credit where credit is due to mayhew then im also going to reserve the right to criticize bad moves. Houston had an average season but got one of the top paid deals of all corners on the market and has followed up a mediocre season with a downright putrid one. I don't think I understand how overpaid mediocre player fits the description of team needs in the NFL especially when players of equal talent are available at much lower cost. delmas though he s been playing has made a lot of gaffes mostly bc his injury history lets him practice only once a week. its a plus over amari spievey/erik coleman/silva. so they did spend some fairly big money on the secondary and they got better at safety and stayed about par or worse on the corners. as for not having needs at DE - I totally disagree. KVB was awful last year, LoJack was returning to Seattle bust form and now we know he was disgruntled, Willie Young showed potential without production past age 27. if there was no need at DE would the Lions really sign one as a priority free agent, use two picks - one of them a 1st rounder, and then get another name player in Israel Idonije in the 2nd wave of free agency? he did great with the young guys poorly with the free agents but doesn't Schwartz deserve some credit for having taylor and ansah play beyond expectations.

before singing mayhew s praises based on the instant draft result I wanna see how he does without a top 5 pick, without tanking a season so bad that the coaches got to scout for themselves at the senior bowl. alternatively, maybe xanders is the one with the real eye for college talent and as a former GM if he can repeat that performance we might be wondering if the Lions should can Mayhew and hire Xanders before some other team makes him there new GM.


To be fair, you make a good point about the DE situation. But because of all the top level pass rushers in the draft over and above a top corner, I think Mayhew took a calculated risk on signing Houston to keep some experience in the secondary and being able to gain pass rushers in the draft. IIRC, we didn't sign Idonije until after the draft. Bentley, Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood are all inexperienced and have not been good when they have played. Houston outperformed all of them last season, so there was no reason to believe he would be as bad as he has been. I agree that he's been disappointing this season. But it still comes down to the fact that his contract made getting other players signed a lot easier than if the Lions had let him go and signed Avril to an 8 figure deal per season.

Mayhew HAS had picks out of the top five. Fairley and Reiff have turned out to be solid picks, if not spectacular for their respective draft positions. But he has screwed the pooch in the rounds following the first, that's for sure.

It has been my contention for a long time that the Lions need to use a first round pick on a cornerback. They've had opportunities in the past and passed only to take players that didn't pan out (most of that was on Millen's watch). The bigger issue is that in recent draft years there hasn't been a top quality cover corner available in the drafts around where the Lions pick. Patrick Peterson was the one really good guy at that position, and the Lions couldn't swing a deal to get him. Other than him, none of the first round corners have been all that great in recent drafts. The better ones have come from later picks.

I have criticized Mayhew for some of his moves, and was in turn criticized by people on this board when those moves were made. I never agreed with the move up to get Jahvid Best, and people barked at me during the draft chat when I said it was a foolish move and a worse pick. I also didn't like selecting Broyles where they took him. Another thing I didn't like that Mayhew did was allowing Sammie Lee Hill to leave in free agency. He was a better DT than most gave him credit for, and I think was a huge benefit in the rotation. I don't know exactly what the size of his contract was with whoever he signed with (I can't recall), but I have to think it wasn't that expensive.

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December 19th, 2013, 1:35 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
Blueskies wrote:
Stafford is a microcosm of the Lions in general.

Sometimes -- for a few series, a few quarters, or even a game or two -- he plays on the level of Peyton Manning, and everyone starts calling him elite.

Othertimes, he plays like a total bum.

I'm not sure why he's so inconsistent. Maybe he'll always be that way, and the Lions will be stuck with their version of Tony Romo for the next 5 years.

But at least bring in a new coaching staff and see if they can get him to be more consistent. There's nothing to lose trying.

I think some of the inconsistency is just who Stafford is. When I was in grad school in 2009, one of my classmates , who went to Georgia during the time Stafford was there and went to every home game, basically told me that Stafford is a guy who will make a few plays that will have you thinking he's the best QB in the game, and then he'll make a few that have you wondering what the heck just happened. I laughed at the time, but it seems he's spot on with his assessment. So perhaps it's just who Stafford is?

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December 19th, 2013, 4:39 am
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Post Re: Lions Have the Talent, Schwartz Needs to Go
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Lions' Reggie Bush: Blame players for sloppy play, not coaches
December 19, 2013
By Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press Sports

Something doesn’t add up.

Lions running back Reggie Bush said Wednesday the team lacks discipline on the field, and it’s a problem that has been building throughout the season.

Turnovers. Penalties. You name it. The Lions have made a litany of mistakes while losing four of their past five games and their grip on a playoff spot. And Bush thinks a lack of discipline is to blame — at least in part.

“Just in our play,” he said. “It could be from penalties or it could be from turnovers or it could be from how we finished the games in fourth quarters.

“It’s not one specific play or moment in a game. It’s the total game. It’s how we play.”

Bush was clear about one thing: He does not think the lack of discipline is coach Jim Schwartz’s fault. In fact, Bush went as far as to say Schwartz, who is 29-49 in his fifth season, is a “great coach.”

“It’s not a coaches’ thing,” Bush said. “It’s a players’ thing. We can do a better job all across the board.

“As far as an offense standpoint, turn the ball over and that’s the discipline issue, and that’s something that we have to correct because obviously, as you see, it’ll lose you games.”

But here’s where Bush’s math gets a little fuzzy. He said the discipline problem occurs on the field, and when he was asked where Schwartz stresses discipline, he said it is on the field.

“Coach Schwartz is a disciplinarian,” Bush said. “He really focuses on the football field and making sure that we are doing the right thing on the field, especially in practice.”

Yes, Schwartz is tough in practice. During his tenure, he has ended practices early because of sloppy play. He has made the team run gassers for mistakes, and he has yelled at practice-squad players for not having their helmets strapped during drills.

When Bush was a rookie in New Orleans, coach Sean Payton would shame players by publicly announcing team fines for infractions.

“When I first got there, I didn’t really like that,” Bush said. “I thought that was kind of messed up that you’re announcing that you just fined a guy for being late to a meeting or missing curfew or something like that.”

But did it work?

“Well, hell, yeah, because you don’t want to get your name announced for getting fined,” Bush said with a laugh. “I’m not going to say that’s the reason we won the Super Bowl or the reason why we were successful. But it was just the environment that he kind of created for the team, and I’m sure he still does it.”

And this is where it gets difficult to parse the problem of discipline. Not everyone agrees on what constitutes a lack of discipline or how to fix it.

Schwartz said he wasn’t aware of Bush’s comments but does not believe discipline is a problem.

“You’d have to give me specific things there,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s an issue with us.”

Bush said he’s happy with the Lions’ culture and environment — although it’s not perfect.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement for us to grow and mature and to get better,” he said. “And it shows up on game days. There’ll be areas where we’re not as disciplined.”

Receiver Nate Burleson said the players have the right mind-set and remained eager and focused.

“We’ve got too many leaders in this locker room,” he said. “I think we have too much hunger in this locker room. Nobody’s booked any (vacation) trips. … We’re trying to finish this season the way we need to finish it.”

At this point, with the team in a steep slide, it almost seems as though the Lions need to start something new in order to finish the right way, and it could begin by addressing a lingering discipline problem.

“No, there’s been signs,” Bush said. “It’s not something that just all of a sudden, ‘Damn, where did these turnovers come from?’ There’s been signs throughout the season, and obviously we didn’t do a good job of correcting those mistakes.

“We have to be able to correct that. It sucks, but it seems like we’re repeating ourselves every week with the turnovers or with things on defense or special teams. We have to be able to correct these mistakes because it’s going to get us beat, and it has been getting us beat.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez: cmonarrez@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

http://www.freep.com/article/20131219/S ... /lions-nfl

FoxSportsDetroit wrote:
Lions players stand behind their coach
DAVE DYE | Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 3:42pm

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz's job appears to be on the line in these final two weeks of the NFL season, and his players know it.

"Am I playing for Jim's job?" defensive tackled Ndamukong Suh said, repeating the question. "I think that's a part in it. Everybody wants to win. Owners expect winning.

"I don't want that coach to go anywhere. I love his scheme."

At the same time, Suh believes the Lions are more talented than their 7-7 record, which includes losses in four of the last five games.

"No question, I don't think our record shows to how well we should be as a team," he said.

When he was asked if coaching was a factor in that underachieving record, Suh answered, "I don't know. That's not my decision."

He then took responsibility for his role in the team's struggles.

"We definitely haven't been as disruptive and effective on the game as we possibly could," Suh said of the defensive line as a whole. "I didn't play my best game (in Monday's 18-16 loss to Baltimore). I don't think the guys next to me on my defensive line played their best game."

The Lions had at least a share of first place in the NFC North for six straight weeks, but now they need help to make the playoffs.

They've got to win both of their games (vs. New York Giants, at Minnesota) while Chicago (at Philadelphia, vs. Green Bay) and Green Bay (vs. Pittsburgh, at Chicago) each lose at least once.

"We've let go of an opportunity to put these other teams away," Suh said. "We opened the door back for them.

"We still have an opportunity to take care of business. It's most important that we do our part or none of it matters. That's what we've yet to do to this point is do our part, close the door.

"We've let a bunch of ants in the house. Now you've got to go get an exterminator to get them out."

Not surprisingly - what else are they going to say? - the players were defending Schwartz, who is in his fifth season as coach.

Running back Reggie Bush went so far as to call Schwartz "a disciplinarian."

That will surprise many people because the Lions have been generally regarded as an undisciplined team.

While Bush admitted that they have lacked discipline in the way they've played, he pointed to the players.

"It could be from penalties or it could be from turnovers or it could be how we finish the games in the fourth quarters," Bush said. "It's not one specific play or moment in the game. It's the total game.

"It's not a coaches' thing. It's a players' thing. We can do a better job all across the board.

"From an offensive standpoint, turning the ball over, that's a discipline issue. That's something we have to correct because, as you see, it can lose you games."

As for the type of disciplinarian that Schwartz is, Bush said, "He really focuses more on the football field and making sure that we're doing the right things on the field, especially in practice."

Receiver Nate Burleson realizes that failing to get to the playoffs likely will result in some changes, possibly a lot of them.

That's how it works in the NFL, and the coach is usually the first to be blamed, especially when the team won only four games the previous year.

"If we don't do what we need to do then there will be some furniture moving around here," Burleson said. "People are going to find someone to blame. If they want to blame somebody, blame me, blame us."

Cornerback Rashean Mathis, a 10-year NFL veteran, agreed that the players have to take responsibility for what's gone wrong.

"At the end of the day, it's up to the players to be able to execute," Mathis said. "It falls on us.

"When you don't do as good as the front office thinks you should, there's going to be a lot of shakeup. But if we finish strong, we know it could be a whole new outlook on this season."

It's that time of year when players throughout the league are saying the right things whether they truly believe them or not.

What's most important is whether they back it up on the field.

The Lions have two games remaining that they should be expected to win. Their actions will speak much louder than their words at a time like this.

INJURY UPDATE
--- Tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who suffered an ankle injury late in Monday's game, didn't participate in Wednesday's walk-trough practice and was on crutches afterward in the locker room.

--- Cornerback Chris Houston, who missed the last game because of a toe injury, returned to practice.

--- Cornerback Darius Slay didn't practice, but he was working out on the side. He missed the last two games following knee surgery.

"Coming off one of my best games (against Green Bay on Thanksgiving), I felt like I had my swag coming back to me," said Slay, who has had a difficult transition to the NFL in his rookie year. "But it's going to stay here."

Slay said he didn't know if he will be able to play again this season. "I'm just trying to come back as fast as I can," he said.

--- Others who sat out the walk-through included receiver Calvin Johnson, linebacker DeAndre Levy, safety Louis Delmas and special-teams player John Wendling.

http://www.foxsportsdetroit.com/nfl/det ... eedID=3867

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December 19th, 2013, 10:23 am
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