Every week during the season, we’re debating the biggest talking point from the week before about the Detroit Lions.
Lions’ Toss-up, Week 15: After Monday night’s crushing loss, there’s been plenty of questions about Jim Schwartz’s job security swirling this week. Technically, the Lions are still alive in the playoff hunt. If Detroit wins their next two games, gets help and sneaks in the playoffs, should Schwartz keep his job or not?
Andrew Tomlinson: The goal is to make the playoffs, there is no definition on how you have to make the playoffs. If the Lions make it to the playoffs, then technically Schwartz has accomplished the goals set-forth for him prior to the season. Now, should he keep his job? Probably not. That said, I am not totally convinced the Lions will fire Schwartz even if they do not make the playoffs.
If a miracle happens and Detroit decides it no longer wants to lose in sports anymore, (this includes you Red Wings), and the Lions make the playoffs, technically there is no reason to fire Schwartz. He got the team there and this year that is probably good enough. The expectations it creates for him next year though will be monstrous, so I do not expect him to be around for more than one more year anyway.
Max DeMara: In a normal vacuum, Andrew is right. However, there is something about how these Lions have played down the stretch this year which doesn’t pass the eye test or the smell test. With the division there for the taking, there is no reason for this healthy team to be backing into the playoffs. Schwartz and the players can talk all they want about “things happening” during the course of games or a season, but the fact remains that the Lions have choked down the stretch while things haven’t really improved for Matthew Stafford or team discipline. That speaks to coaching. If Detroit makes the playoffs under mediocre circumstances, that shouldn’t help Schwartz keep his job at all. He should be fired either way.
The fact is, the Lions are probably looking at their celling under Schwartz. They’ll remain a middle of the pack NFC team under his leadership with a penchant for untimely meltdowns and playoff flame outs if or when they get there. If the Lions are serious about being a contender in the NFC—not just for playoff births but for making runs and possibly even reaching the Super Bowl—they’ll need a new boss to get them over the hump. It’s time for the franchise to be bold and send a message that being average is no longer acceptable or cause for celebration. The conclusion to this season should present a perfect opportunity for that.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax