Jim Schwartz, Not Matt Stafford, Deserves All the Heat on Lions Hot Seat

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 17:  Head coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions looks on from the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are currently one of the worst teams in the NFL at 1-3. They ait at the very bottom of the NFC North and head coach Jim Schwartz deserves the entirety of the blame. 

It would be easy to pass the blame off on quarterback Matthew Stafford who has been erratic at best so far this season. It would also be irresponsible. 

Stafford is doing what he can, but it is not realistic to expect him to throw for 5,000 or more yards every year and consistently lead his team to the postseason. All Stafford can do is work with what he is given, and Schwartz hasn't given him a lot. 

2012 was supposed to be the year the Lions joined the ranks of the elite, instead the team has fallen into the lower depths of the NFL. 

Schwartz deserves the majority of the blame for the catastrophe that is the Lions' 2012 season, let's find out why. 


Undisciplined Team

As they say, it starts at the top. Schwartz has a horrible reputation around the league and in the media as an antagonistic character.

With that being said, does it really come as a surprise that the Lions' players are consistently in the headlines for having issues with the law off the field? Or is it at all shocking when yet another Lions player is hit with a personal foul penalty after a lack of discipline? 

It would be a waste of time to list all of the arrests recently, but defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are the perfect examples of what is wrong with Schwartz as a head coach. Both have had issues on and off the field. 

Schwartz has lost control of his team, and thanks to his now irreparable reputation, he will face the majority of the blame for any incident on or off the field—and it will ultimately cost him his job sooner rather than later.


Inability to Build a Defense

Things hit rock bottom last week for the Lions when the Minnesota Vikings, a team very familiar with the bottom of the NFC North, traveled to Detroit and upset the reeling Lions. 

The Lions managed to give up both a punt and kick return for touchdowns en route to a 20-13 loss. It was simply the latest showing of not only a putrid defense, but a miserable special teams unit as well. 

The Lions defensive unit is giving up over 28 points per game right now and has been outscored by the lowly Tennessee Titans and the San Francisco 49ers. It would have cost Detroit the opening game of the season against the mediocre St. Louis Rams as well were it not for some late-game heroics by the offense. 

Schwartz has had issues building either unit up in a respectable manner. Tally it on to his other failures as a head coach and his seat only gets hotter.


Gauging the Hot Seat

Schwartz is billed as the young coach who turned around a franchise that went 0-16 in a season with fans littered around the stadium with brown paper bags over their heads. 

The issue with this sentiment is that Schwartz inherited a youthful core that managed to develop with him at the head of things. He has done little with the talent and failed to add to it in a meaningful manner. 

Currently, the seat is red-hot for Schwartz. Realistically, Stafford's job is 100 percent secure and he's clearly a franchise quarterback. The Lions have bigger issues than a down year from Stafford at this point. 

It's a safe bet that, if the Lions end up last in the NFC North this season, Schwartz is as good as gone. Even an 8-8 finish with a roster that is deemed as exceptionally talented could cost him his job now that expectations have been so unreasonably raised. 

In the end, Schwartz has done this to himself. Coaches with better reputations are typically given longer leashes in the NFL. Schwartz has failed to cultivate a winning or respectable culture in Detroit, and it will cost him his job sooner rather than later.