Posts Tagged ‘Jim Schwartz’

A Charitable Gesture: Lions sympathize with Rams’ plight, help end 18-game skid

November 4, 2009

The Detroit Free Press’ always entertaining columnist, Michael Rosenberg, provides an excellent account of the general absurdity of the Lions’ home loss to the lowly Rams on Sunday.

With a loss in a game that many had pegged as the Lions’ best chance to secure an elusive second victory, the Lions are left hanging their hats only on their victory over the comically free-spending Zornskins .

 

detroit-lions2

Is it time to get those bags ready again? Yes, yes it is

Sure, statistically speaking, in an historic season of bottom-dwelling NFL franchises, the Lions actually have a BETTER record than three teams (0-7 Tampa Bay and 1-7 St. Louis and Cleveland) and the same record as two other proud teams (Kansas City and Tennessee), but the levels of awful the Lions are achieving right now is truly a sight to behold.

Through seven games, three Lions’ quarterbacks have combined to toss a measly 4 touchdown passes against a robust 11 interceptions. The team’s leading receiver (receptions-wise) is its oft-injured running back. Nobody on the team has intercepted more than 1 pass (5 players have picked 1 apiece), while little-known Buffalo Bills’ rookie, Jairus Byrd, has picked off 7.

Now, almost halfway through the season, the Lions appear to be right in the thick of the race to be the NFL’s worst team.

Last season, the Lions’ beautifully crafted a revolutionary blueprint for achieving futility (re: lose all 16 games, most by comically lopsided scores).

This season, although some facets of the team appear to be headed in the right direction (see: the team’s work ethic under HC Schwartz, torpedo-like rookie Louis Delmas, or the always-stellar-when-healthy Megatron), the team’s lack of talent will inevitably lead them to the NFL’s crowded basement for yet another painfully inept season.

The only questions left to answer, are where, when, and how will win #2 materialize.

 

 

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The Countdown to Failure: The 5 Worst Draft Picks Since 2002

October 13, 2009

Few things have been as constant for the Detroit Lions in the 2000’s as totally inept drafting.

From 2002-2006, just one Lion draft pick, linebacker Ernie Sims, is still with the team. Quite honestly, that has to be one of the most mind boggling statistics in the history of mind boggling statistics.

And it’s not like the Lions simply let some solid players walk after their rookie contracts were up. Instead, the Lions managed to take one of the most horrific collections of talent possible, setting player analysis and development back to the lowest of low points.

Over the course of the next week, I will explore the 5 worst selections of the GM-who-shall-not-be-named era (2000-2008) and some of their most well-known follies. I’ll limit myself to the first two rounds of each draft, since, for all intents and purposes, the later rounds were just a chance to draft and cut CFL-level talent.

Heaving darts at a dart board is the best substitute for actual player analysis!

Heaving darts at a dart board is the best substitute for actual player analysis!

Enjoy (because I certainly won’t)!

5) Jordon Dizon (linebacker, Colorado): 2nd round, pick #45, 2008.

Dizon doesn’t necessarily jump off the page as one of the most prominent missteps by Lions’ brass, but this guy is a perfect example of the “what in the world were you thinking?” draft strategy.

In an attempt to draft a linebacker that would fit since-departed coach Rod Marinelli’s cover-two scheme (or cover-no one, take your pick), the Lions used their second round pick on an undersized (6’0, 230 lbs.) player with questionable talent. Perhaps the Lions were lured by Dizon’s collegiate accolades, but few if any other NFL teams had projected Dizon as a second round-level talent.

Not only did he fail to make an impact in his rookie season under Marinelli, but now, with HC Schwartz/DC Gunther Cunningham’s defensive approach, Dizon has been rendered virtually useless on a team that doesn’t even have any depth in the linebacking corps (paging Darnell Bing!).

Despite praise from Lions’ staffers in the offseason, Dizon failed to grab the starting job vacated by Ernie Sims when Sims went down with a shoulder injury, and, since then, his production has continued to be very limited in spotty action.

Dizon is the proverbial square peg in a circular hole at this point and, barring an unforeseen turn of events, his tenure with the Lions may be a short one.

Offseason praise for Jordon Dizon has yet to translate into on-the-field results

Offseason praise for Jordon Dizon has yet to translate into on-the-field results

Jim Schwartz and Bill Belichick: One in the Same?

October 5, 2009

…Well, of course not. Few coaches in the history of the National Football League have attained the type of success that Billy B has (see: 3 super bowl victories in 4 appearances). So then, you might ask, where can the connection be drawn between the Lions’ first year head coach and the vaunted, sloppily attired Patriots’ boss?

The connection, my friends, is the manner in which Schwartz has gone about cloaking his team’s injuries in what seems like absolute secrecy.

First, when linebacker Ernie Sims went down in week 2 against the Vikings, Schwartz characterized Sims’ shoulder injury as “significant” and though Sims has since returned, nothing of particular interest is known about the extent of his injury.

Shhh...Nobody can know about the severity of my "significant" shoulder injury

Shhh...Nobody can know about the severity of my "significant" shoulder injury

Then, when running back Kevin Smith went down with shoulder and knee injuries against Washington in week 3, Schwartz toyed with the media to the point that few expected him to play much, if at all, against the Bears the following week.

Not only did Smith play, he carried the ball 19 times.

So it should’ve come as no surprise when, after Matt Stafford exited the Lions’ matchup with the Bears, that there was going to be precious little information available about Stafford’s condition.

Which leads us back to the thesis of this entry. Is HC Schwartz patterning his handling of injury reports and the media in a way that mimics the great Belichick, perhaps the most notorious misleader in all of pro sports?

Well, for a guy like Schwartz, who clearly marches to the beat of his own decidedly unique drum, it’s certainly possible that this is all merely a coincidence (although, if Schwartz can turn the Lions around the way Belichick turned the Pats around, it would be quite a welcome coincidence).

In any event, Schwartz’ coyness has opened a few eyes around the league.

As evasiveness with the media for myriad reasons (competitive advantage, general disdain of the media) is on the rise, Schwartz appears to be a new inductee into the current Hall of Fame of Coaching Mystery.

Esteemed Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick, may well be an inspiration for the Lions' Jim Schwartz's mysterious ways.

Esteemed Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick, may well be an inspiration for the Lions' Jim Schwartz's mysterious ways.

644 Days Later: A Triumph to Remember

September 28, 2009

(Courtesy, Detroit News)

19-14. It was by no means the prettiest NFL game ever played. Heck, it wasn’t even available on local t.v. to those who have, for better or worse, bled Honolulu blue and silver for so many hapless years.

Of course, some national pundits forecasted week 3 as the Lions’ time to return to the winners’ circle. Even Washington Redskins’ mammoth defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth, saw the Lions as a dangerous challenge that he wouldn’t overlook (or so he claimed).

After all was said and done, though, nothing could take away from the pure, unadulterated joy that came about from this victory.

I think I can confidently speak for many ardent Lions’ supporters, that, when the final whistle blew after the Redskins’ bizarre hook-and-ladder prayer foundered (found at about 4:20 of the video below), a tension was released that had played such a prominent role in our lives for what seemed like an eternity.

I, myself, began shouting unintelligible things and pumping my fists uncontrollably, as I sat alone in my room, flanked by my Lions’ banner, savoring the unfamiliar.

 

Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom penned an excellent take on Lions’ victory #1.

Yahoo! national sports columnist Dan Wetzel’s article is equally moving.

 

The Lions' longest-tenured player, kicker Jason Hanson, and teammates Grady Jackson and Don Muhlbach (from l to r) celebrate wins fans (courtesy Detroit Free Press)

The Lions' longest-tenured player, kicker Jason Hanson, and teammates Grady Jackson and Don Muhlbach (from l to r) celebrate with fans (courtesy Detroit Free Press)

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the Lions’ triumph over the Redskins, came when HC Schwartz instructed his players to return to the field to celebrate with the remaining fans of what was initially a 40,000 person crowd (the smallest to attend a Lions’ home game in 20 years). After so much suffering and so much dejection associated with the second-longest losing streak in NFL history, Schwartz felt the fans needed to know just how much his team appreciated their dedication.

So now, the Lions have broken through. 

At 1-2 and headed to Soldier Field next Sunday to take on the NFC North rival Chicago Bears, the road to end futility has ceased.

Some of us, the greedier ones, will already start thinking about when/where win #2 will materialize. Will we have to wait until week 8, when the new owners of the league’s current longest losing streak, the St. Louis Rams, take on the Lions? Will it be sooner; could it be later?

For now, a new hope has soared to the fore of Lions fans’ collective conscious. 

A new day is upon us.

Sure, in the literal sense, it’s just 1 win. 

But, even if for a fleeting moment, it feels like so much more.