Earlier this afternoon, former Tennessee Titans Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz was named the successor to Rod Marinelli as the Detroit Lions' Head Coach. Schwartz was the mastermind behind the top ranked Titans' defense, which was responsible for leading the team to their league-best 13-3 record.
While Schwartz may have been one of the more qualified candidates for the job, I can't seem to find much of an upside in the hiring. How much can one guy do with a team that has lost their last 17 games? Marinelli should not have received all of the hate from the city of Detroit as he did; head coaches aren't out there playing every down. However, he was one of the more lenient
In order to mend this team and turn it into a bearable product, players and coaches are going to have to work together. It's not a one-way street. It never has been. Whether Schwartz will be able to control his players will ultimately determine the fate of his future in Detroit and possibly professional football.
Meanwhile, Rod Marinelli was hired by the Chicago Bears as the defensive line coach and assistant head coach. I would not be shocked one bit if the Bears' D-Line becomes something special.
Many head coaches that are fired by the Lions go on to become successful elsewhere. Marty Mornhinweg has been very prosperous–leading the Philadelphia Eagles' offense to the NFC Championship this year.
Along with coaches, players who leave Detroit often play better elsewhere; not just football, but other professional sports as well. Luis Gonzalez, Jeff Garcia, Slava Kozlov, and most recently Jair Jurrjens have all played very well in other cities.
But back to Schwartz. He's had a very successful career in Tennessee, but the situation he comes into is just a failure waiting to happen. He will have to bring in a good set of coordinators and other coaches along with some nice pieces from Free Agency and the Rookie Draft in order to be competitive.
Nobody expects this team to be competitive, but that's what he'll have to do in order to overcome the odds.
Ultimately, Schwartz has high expectations set by the city. I don't think this team will win more than four games next year–and that's pretty generous for a team that hasn't won a game in over a year.
The Lions have some important decisions to make. With Sam Bradford foregoing the NFL to return to Oklahoma, it seems as Andre Smith is the most likely pick. Trading down is also an option, but I am more interested to see what they do with the Cowboys' pick that was acquired in return for Roy Williams.
Regardless of what the Lions do in the draft, it should be an interesting offseason. There should be some intriguing moves made by the organization in order to restore any sense of hope or fan base. Only time will tell.