Schwartz has the look, talk, and credentials to be a winning NFL head coach. He's been tutored by Jeff Fischer and Bill Belichick, both are coaches who have either been to or win a Superbowl. He knows talent from being a former scout, he knows the game inside and out from being a defensive coordinator so long and being incredibly intelligent. He knows what to do to win football games and he's learning what not to do to lose them. He is everything you could possibly ask for in a head coach, but yet, his win-loss record reflects something that he knew before he ever took the head coaching job in Detroit: He inherited a team totally depleted with hardly any talent.
I know that people are pretty hard up on Jim Schwartz right now, as there are plenty of Detroit Lions forums that want to shit-can him and aren't giving him a fair shake. I have to defend him because I truly believe that even though he may start out winning just 6 games or less in his first two years and have a bunch of horrible records of ineptness tied to his name, he will be the coach who gets this team somewhere they haven't been in a very long time, possibly ever.
The NFL is predicated on perennial one-year turnarounds, but only if the teams have a strong core to build on. It's not designed to turnaround a team with a decade long of horrible drafts, poor free agent signings, mismatched players from different schemes, and decades of a losing culture.
These sort of things factor into the reason Jim Schwartz has had such a poor outing so far, it's not like the 2010 Detroit Lions haven't improved from 2008 until now. We have a franchise QB in Stafford, an electrifying back in Jahvid Best, a pro-bowl receiver in Calvin Johnson, a complete tight end in Pettigrew, a defensive line capable of sacking the QB especially Suh, a cornerback in Alphonso Smith who's picked off 5 passes and might make the probowl, a free safety in Louie Delmas who could be one of the best Detroit ever had, and a kick returner in Stephan Logan that actually makes the kick return game relevant. It's just the fact that we are still missing a few very important pieces and this team is still very young and undisciplined.
Schwartz has done his best, along with Mayhew who has made the most out of just two offseasons, to mold this young team into a winner. The fact that Stafford has been injured all season and Best got hurt after week 3 really hurts his cause, but the pieces to build on are there. It's not like there will be a huge roster turnover like years past. The 2011 Detroit Lions, with a 100% healthy Stafford/Best, better offensive line, and upgraded defense, will be the team that defines what Jim Schwartz was trying to accomplish. He's doing his best, and the fact that the Lions have so many key pieces to build on in just 2 offseasons says a lot for what he's trying to do.
On the NFL network commericals, when the coaches say things like "All I want, is NFL Network 365 days a year." or something like that, Jim Schwartz's piece comes on there and says "All I want, is to make the Motor City proud." That's a very telling piece. He wants to make a difference, but it will take time. He knew going into the situation that it would take longer than 2 offseasons to make a winner. He also knew if his starting QB and running back went down and the team started losing that the losing culture would set in again and the team would hear that oh too familiar "Same ol' Lions" bit and would hear the fans cry for the axe. He understands it, and I'm sure doesn't blame the fans. He will make sure the 2011 Lions will change the way we all look at the Detroit Lions.
So, give Schwartz one more offseason/draft and hopefully Stafford/Best stay healthy enough all season to make a difference, and if they still lose, I say scrap it and start over because he's not answer. I don't think that's the case, but this is the Detroit Lions after all.