First off, I want to say I generally like your articles and respect your opinions. However, the recent article posted on MLive.com, September 28, 2010 titled, "Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz one loss from worst 20-game start in franchise history" really was off base.
I know you grabbed the numbers and they are true. There is no dispute over those. But numbers can be twisted and misconstrued to serve the wrong purposes. When taken out of context, like how you did in the article, it only serves to create unneeded speculation along with placing blame on the wrong person, namely Schwartz. So I wanted to clear some things up for you and get you back on track with writing accurate articles, like those of the past.
You can't compare the win-loss numbers of each coach without also evaluating things like player personnel, GMs, schedules, etc. You mentioned Ross and Fontes in your article. Don't forget they had Barry Sanders. I've heard you field calls on the radio about how Calvin should be used like Herman Moore. You responded that Barry was in the backfield forcing coverage to help stop the run, leaving Moore open. You stated how Barry created such a dynamic option it opened up play calling and created offensive success.
So why doesn't this same "Barry Logic" apply to the coaches records? Schwartz did not have a RB worth a darn last year. The offense was one dimensional. So wouldn't it figure, that if Schwartz had a guy like Barry back there last year, then his record would have been better? This year, they did get a RB who looks to be dynamic. But with so few games, he hasn't been around long enough for teams to game plan against him, thereby opening up other areas of the offense. I think we all can agree how over time, if Best is able to continue his production, the entire offense will be dynamic enough to keep defenses guessing and hopefully, more wins.
Next, you can throw out all the coaches who came under Millen's watch. Millen is basically the AIDS of the NFL. Sure, during the first 8 years not much was happening. The Lions seemed healthy and lacking the disease. However, over time, as the Millen virus caught up, it left us vulnerable and weak. With every draft and free agency period, he brought in just horrible, T-Cell eating players. Eventually, the entire roster was filled with so many Millen-infected guys, that the core players, those who had any sort of talent, were eaten up by the garbage players around them. What was left over after the firing of Millen was a team totally destroyed from the inside. Shoot, even Schwartz and Mayhew came out last year and said many of the starters would be 2nd or 3rd string guys on other teams. So it's going to take more than 20 games to cure the Lion's of the Millen AIDS term.
All the other coaches you mentioned from Harry Gilmer to Darryl Rogers need to be wiped out from the 20 game record comparison as well. Why? They didn't have to deal with free agency, which took effect partly in 1989, with the current system enacted in 1993. These coaches had the advantage of signing and keeping marquee players for longer periods of time. They could manage a core group and maintain a decent level of talent from year to year. The team could stay mildly competitive and not suffer huge swings of wins/losses like those seen today.
So please stop the "Schwartz Needs to be Fired Fear Mongering" you started with that article. Do some research on the subject and accurately evaluate what is going on. Then, write an article which gives the fans the real picture, rather than using some hack record comparison trick to exploit fans anger after a tough string of losses during this hopeful 2010 season.
You're a better journalist than this Tom. Write like it.