By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – After another close game slipped away from the Detroit Lions on Monday, the fourth defeat in the last five games, many called for the job of head coach Jim Schwartz.
Buoyed by considerable talent on both sides of the ball – most notably Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush offensively and Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley defensively – the Lions got off to a 6-3 start but are now 7-7.
Detroit’s 31 turnovers are the second-most in the NFL, and 18 of them have come in the last five games. When Bush talked with Stoney and Bill of 97.1 The Ticket on Wednesday, though, he said the season’s failures fall on the players.
“When you have the caliber of players that we have on offense, no matter what play is called, you should be able to convert it,” Bush said. “When you have Calvin Johnson, [Brandon] Pettigrew, me, Joique [Bell], [Joe] Fauria, [Kris] Durham, when you have those guys, we should be able to convert a third down, no matter what play is called. Even if it’s a pass, it shouldn’t matter. Or a slant, we should be able to make that in our sleep. Or if it’s a screen, we should be able to convert that in our sleep.
“It’s about execution,” Bush added. “That’s what it comes down to, is execution.”
According to Bush, the lack of execution does not fall on the coaches. Bush did mention that perhaps there should have been more emphasis on correcting early-season mistakes sooner, though it was unclear whether Bush felt the lack of emphasis on fixing those issues is the responsibility of coaches or players.
“It’s about discipline,” Bush said. “When you look into games earlier in the year, there was something there that we didn’t pay attention to that now is catching up to us. For example, when we played the Dallas Cowboys game, and we had five turnovers, but we came back and won the game, and everybody was excited about how we won the game and the fashion that we came back.
“In a nutshell, we’ve got to look at those turnovers too because down the road that can hurt you, and I think in the last four or five games, we’ve been turning over the ball at a pretty alarming rate,” Bush continued. “You’ve got to look at the things early on in the season that can hurt you later on in the season when the games really matter … The [margin for error] is so much smaller now.”
A week after the Lions played the Philadelphia Eagles in a blizzard, Detroit got hit with plenty of snow itself. Of course, since the Lions have a dome, nobody has to actually play in the snow, and Bush said he enjoys watching it out the window of his house. The presence of snow will change one of his old hometown holiday traditions, though.
“I remember growing up in San Diego, I remember we would go to the beach on Christmas,” Bush said with a chuckle, “and go out there and lay on the beach and it was like 80 degrees outside.”
Now, of course, it is a different story, but Bush seems to embrace the winter weather too.
“It’s refreshing,” Bush said. “We don’t get this back in California. I’m enjoying this already. If it does snow on Christmas Day, I’ll be that much more excited.”