Grab the torches and pitchforks. Prepare to storm the castle. Someone needs to pay for the Detroit Lions' 1-3 start.
Detroit has looked sluggish, slow, bored, lazy and downright pathetic.
Is Jim Schwartz the man to hunt down? Is he the reason for the Lions' sudden demise?
In a league where the memory of fans seems to last for about a game or two that may seem like the case, but don't pounce on Schwartz just yet.
We must not forget that this is the coach that resurrected this franchise from the Rod Marinelli depths of 0-16.
Schwartz took on one of the least enticing head coaching positions in professional sports and immediately helped to make Detroit relevant as a football team.
Yes, that does not excuse the team's poor play, and the fact that Detroit has lost nine of its last 15 games is alarming.
However, Schwartz is not the sole reason for the Lions' struggles.
The problems to start 2012 can largely be attributed to silly mistakes and the worst special teams play in team history.
Think that is an overstatement? Check this out:
RT “@larrylage: Lions 1st team since at least 1940 to allow a punt and kickoff return for TDs in back-to-back games, according to STATS LLC”
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) September 30, 2012
Detroit's special teams is costing it wins—two in a row, in fact. The Lions did not allow an offensive touchdown to the Vikings in Week 4.
And remember those 44 points the Titans scored in Week 3? Only 14 of those came from offensive snaps.
Coach Schwartz is putting the Lions in position to succeed, and the players are simply not executing, plain and simple.
Matthew Stafford has developed some kind of sidearm throwing style and has looked like a shell of his 5,000-yard self from a season ago.
Calvin Johnson has found the end zone only once in four games.
Ndamukong Suh has two sacks, but has largely been unheard from at all.
Oh, and the Lions' receiving corps has almost unilaterally forgot how to catch passes.
From Brandon Pettigrew in the end zone to Titus Young and Johnson in the open field, Detroit's receivers are not exactly helping out the struggling Stafford.
These are certainly excuses—valid ones, but still excuses.
At some point, the Lions need to simply realize what is wrong and fix it on the field.
But the fact remains that Schwartz is giving this team every chance to succeed.
He must shoulder some blame for this wretched 1-3 start, but to think he should be anywhere near the hot seat would be foolish.