NFL coaches are not born knowing the intricacies of the wide-nine defense or the NFL rules regarding when to throw a challenge flag and when not too. That knowledge comes with time.
They are expected to know these and many more things the minute they accept a head-coaching job though.
That expectation is unrealistic. The fact is that NFL head coaches make mistakes every game. They experience growing pains just like their players.
Jim Schwartz fits that bill. He's been a coach for many years, but a head coach is a different animal. Even though he's in his fourth year, he's still learning.
Remember, it took Bill Belichik a while to turn into the hoodie-wearing genius he is today. In his first six years leading an NFL team, he only had one winning season and one playoff appearance.
He was evolving as a head coach and Schwartz is doing the same.
Keep in mind that Schwartz took over a miserable franchise. It's one thing to coach a team with zero expectations. The smallest improvements are viewed as momentous and mistakes are minimized. Once that team becomes a winner, the pressure really starts.
That's the position Schwartz finds himself in now.
The Lions are now a good team and he is under a microscope more than he ever was in his first three years. He made mistakes this season and deserves criticism for them, but fans that are crying for him to lose his job are overreacting.
A change like that would be the worst thing the Lions could do. John Gruden and Bill Cowher are not knocking on Bill Ford's door and to hire someone else would simply be starting over. The Lions don't need that.
They need consistency.
It remains to be seen if Schwartz is the man to finally lead the Lions to the Super Bowl, but he's proven he can win games. He'll learn from the failure of this season and ultimately be a better head coach because of it.