While a 5-24 record does merit concern and criticism, Jim has planted some seeds and has finally established an identity for this team. And I'm sure everyone can agree that Jim has made some questionable clock management decisions this year, but he has also shown a progressive football philosophy that I believe can take this team to the top.Therefore fellow Lions fans, here's are my reasons why Jim should be around to witness the fruits of his labor.
Reason 1- with the acquisitions of KVB , Suh, Williams and Lojack and with the emergence of Avril and to some extent Mcbride, Jim has finally given this team an identity.For the past ten years the lions have not had any sort of name recognition or studs on defense and this year they have a whole group on the defensive line anchored of course by Suh.This year alone, one could argue that every game the Lions won was primarily on the backs of the D-line.That's astonishing considering the line we had two years ago was invisible. But this year, regardless of who is playing and who is injured the D-line has preformed surprisingly well. Therefore, Schwartz should get all the credit for the acquisitions as well as the philosophy he put in place.
Reason 2-back when the Lions were 2-5 and realistic chances of contending this year were slim at that point the Lions came out and faced the Jets that week.And even though the lions lost the game, the amount of energy and emotions I witnessed from the Lions during the game was like none other I've noticed from them in 15 years. Additionally, while most people questioned the play-call on 3rd-1 in the fourth quarter, I rather thought it was a right call and just poor execution on the QBs part. It was a high risk/high reward play and at the point of the game the Jets had all the momentum, so whether we punted to them with 1:45 or 1:10 to go the Jets most likely still get in feildgoal range. Schwartz took a chance on the play and disregarded any criticism a play like that might and did incite for the sake of the team. Therefore, Jim's confidence in the team and ability to fire up the players for games like that should earn him at least one more year.
Reason 3- I touched on this reason a little bit in reason 2 but i believe Jim's progressive football philosophy is what is going to take us to the top. For instance, previous old football coaches in Lions past and around the league still at the moment still coach the evolutionary game of football by the book, and that book has been out of date for ten years now. Most of these ancient coaches likely would have kicked the fieldgoal on 4th-4 instead of throwing a game clinching CJ TD in the Skins game this year. To our advantage Schwartz made a gutsy call, which may have incited criticism if it failed, but instead it worked and we won the game. The explanation he gave on the decision to go for it implied that with four or so minutes left, he felt the Lions had a better chance of just going for the lead instead of playing by the book and hoping a favorable chain of events would ensue and give the Lions the ball back with enough time to score.This pedal to the metal and show no mercy attitude that Jim has has shown as a head coach I believe can take Jim and more importantly the Lions to the very top if given enough time.
Reason 4-this is not an excuse but just the reality of the situation.The Lions and most teams in the league for that matter need their starting QB to win games. Yes, there has been some exceptions, but I can argue most of those teams that have won without a starting QB either had a stout defense or established veterans at key positions or both. With Stafford going out week one and Hill coming in the whole offense they have been working on all preseason changed drastically due to the throws Hill is able to make or not make for that matter. This is the main reason for our dismal record and not Schwartz. It really frustrates me when I read various posts and blogs about the Lions and someone starts bashing Schwartz, then someone else defends him and points out the QB issue, then they get attacked and labeled as someone that buys into the Lions hype and excuses.And while being a Lions does merit skepticism and a show me attitude, one must look at the situation this year without the effects of the past and realize that this is a legitimate reason for the disappointing year. The QB is the highest paid and most important player for a reason.Therefore, Schwartz should be judged after completing a whole season with his starting QB.
Reason 5- This should be the most obvious reason but Schwartz took over a team worse than an expansion franchise for heaven's sake. This is just his second season, what do you people expect? A miracle!! I for one am very pleased withe fact the Lions are competing till the last minute and not being down 21-0 in the 1st quarter like a couple years ago.Did everybody forget the football team we fielded in 2008? And I'm not just talking about their record that year. Although their record is bad, everyone can agree the 2010 Lions looks like a real NFL caliber football team and that all starts with the coach.
So Lions fans, we can all argue if Jim is the right man for the job or not, which is fair. But can we honestly say that Jim has got a fair shot? I think not. From taking over the worst mess in sports history to losing his starting QB in the beginning of year two, it's only fair that Jim get at least one more year.I sincerely believe regardless of what we do in the off-season, if Matt is healthy and the coaching staff stays in place, we should contend for the division next year.