By Eric Thomas
Should Jim Schwartz be fired? I think the answer is “yes” — but after this year. If you’ve been searching for a blog on why Jim Schwartz should be fired right now, keep walking. It would be ludicrous, although not outside the realm of Lion-related possibility, to suggest that Schwartz should have walked after the 2012 season. The team won four games, coming off a ten win season. Despite last year’s stumbles, Jim Schwarz is still best Lions coach since … you’ve been alive. Marty Mornhinweg had fantasies of a four-win season.
Jim Schwarz’s head coaching career comes down to this year. It’s time. A coach should be measured by ability and not some arbitrary timetable, but that’s not possible in the hyper-reactive world we live in. It’s a perfect storm for a coach who’s shown more ability than his record indicates. Let’s be clear: At the end of this season, the Lions will either be in the playoffs or rebuilding. Again.
If the latter holds true, here are reasons to fire Jim Schwartz at the end of the year.
- The roster is waaay better. The Lions had history’s worst offseason going into the 2012 season, eclipsed this year by the New England Patriots. Arrests, possession, assaults and a draft where the first round pick didn’t start—but the third round pick did. Ouch. Going into 2013, the Lions stayed blissfully un-arrested, they picked up a few key free agents, and the draft seemed a little better. Jim Schwartz should have been frustrated last year, the team had huge holes. This year looks a lot like the 2011 squad, but better on both sides of the ball.
- The NFC North is ripe. Preseason predictions are always rendered laughable at the end of the season. We have no idea who the break out teams are going to be, and maybe one of them could be in the NFC North. It’s doubtful. Green Bay is still at the top of the division, but they’re due for a rough year. The NFL has few iron clad rules, but oscillation is one of them. If Green Bay stumbles, the Lions have to strike. Chicago is rebuilding and they hired a CFL coach. The Vikings are never good two years in a row, and Adrian Peterson is coming off an MVP season. He’ll come back to earth. The Vikings also have Christian Ponder.
- The Calvin-Reggie factor. The widest smile in the locker room needs to be 81. Reggie Bush’s arrival is a coup for Megatron. Teams have another person on the field they must account for. Watch for Bush to get a ton of touches early in the season. When teams adjust, Calvin will gore them. CJ knows this. If Schwartz / Linehan can’t make Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson work, they’ll never work again.
- One is a fluke, two is a trend. They improved incrementally for three seasons, and fell apart last year. We can dismiss one bad season as a fluke, but we can’t ignore two in a row. A second season of struggles changes the scope of Schwartz’s Lion related career. It would mean one good season was the fluke.
- Stafford gets another coach. Stafford haters can pack the banners away. He’s your quarterback for the duration. Say, it’s not all bad. You’ve done a lot worse in the past. Schwarz will be the scapegoat and he’ll be sent packing sent packing