Detroit Lions second-year head coach Jim Schwartz
Now that the dressed rehearsal is over, the Detroit Lions can bring unity of focus toward the present all-important goal and mission: beat the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, September 12, 2010.
The surest and fastest way for the 2010 Detroit Lions to begin to distance itself from all things 2008 and 2009 is to secure a victory on the western banks of Lake Michigan at the expense of a despised NFC Norris division rival.
Can do, Lions fans. Can do.
During last night’s post-game interview, Detroit Lions radio personality Jim Brandstatter asked head coach Jim Schwartz, “Did you get out of the preseason what you wanted to?”
Schwartz uneasily replied, “We’ll see.” Schwartz’ comments were less germane to Brandstatter’s question than they were to the notion that what the team had hoped to accomplish during the preseason as being borderline irrelevant.
Schwartz kept circling back to his stance that he and his staff would be judged by what the team was able to accomplish during the regular season and beyond.
It is almost as if coach Schwartz has developed just a little bit more than a healthy disdain for the preseason, and especially the run up over the past four weeks.
On the one hand, I hear what coach is saying, but by the same token, it must be meaningful in some regard, otherwise the league wouldn’t schedule the games to begin with, as it is the medium that allows teams to pit their players against guys wearing a different colored jersey for the evening
So what if it doesn’t go down on the regular season win-loss record! If it didn’t matter or wasn’t beneficial, why do they keep score in the preseason games? Why not just make it like a high school scrimmage?
Apparently it matters along the line somewhere; otherwise this would be nothing more than engaging in an exercise of futility.
Brandstatter talked about guys stepping up during the final preseason game and asked coach Schwartz if it made it tougher for the staff in light of tomorrow’s cut-down day. After a modest deflection, Schwartz acknowledged in all sincerity that it will be hard on the players who will be released, while admitting the staff will have difficult decisions to make right down to the wire.
Jim Schwartz said that they didn’t see a lot of electricity from the starters in the first two quarters of the game, but in the fourth quarter you saw guys go out and play their hearts out with veterans on the sidelines cheering guys on who were playing for a roster position.
Build the team, build the team, and when in doubt, build the team.
The leadership in Allen Park seems to be doing just that. As a combat veteran of the First Team, it does my heart good to see the parallels between organizations. Many of the key ingredients that create success on the battlefield can be responsibly borrowed and levied against an opponent on the football field: trust, team work, loyalty, cohesion, selfless service, dedication to duty, and fellow man above self
When coach Schwartz was asked about the performance of running back DeDe Dorsey, coach said, “Wanted to see Dorsey hang on to the one ball, but pleased.”
Moments later Jim Brandstatter spent some time with Dorsey to get his personal evaluation of his own performance on the evening, to which DeDe replied, “I was feeling pretty good up until that fumble.“
“The fumble didn’t help,” Dorsey said. “I tried to make some plays, but can’t put the ball on the ground.”
Without question, you could hear the nervousness in Dorsey’s voice. He knew he had been given more than enough opportunity to solidify a roster spot, but also was highly cognizant of the impact his fumbling could have on his ability to land on the 53-man roster.
It won’t be long until we discover the true meaning of “pleased” as it pertains to Schwartz’ choice of superlative as it relates to DeDe Dorsey making the final 53-man roster in Detroit.
Tony Ortiz was able to capture a great statement from defensive tackle Landon Cohen, “I like to come through under pressure.”
There’s no doubt that Cohen’s performance demonstrated exactly that, and I have to believe Landon solidified a place for himself on the 53-man roster with his robust performance at Ford Field against the visiting Buffalo Bills last night
When asked what the veteran leadership of Kyle Vanden Bosch has meant to Cohen, the defensive tackle replied, “Oh man, just the work ethic.” You could hear how pumped up Landon Cohen was, his voice still reveling in his outstanding performance, the adrenaline still flowing after sacking the Bills quarterback.
Landon said that KVB has taught his line mates the relentless work ethic that helped make Vanden Bosch a three-time Pro Bowler.
Landon Cohen was also quick to point out what a pleasure it was to learn pass-rush moves from Corey Williams and how much Williams’ presence has helped him. Veteran leadership has been very meaningful for Landon Cohen.
“I’ll sleep well tonight,” said Cohen in parting. Not just because he had played well, but because he was spent! Landon Cohen left his all on the field, nothing wanting, as he believes it is his spiritual obligation to give 100 percent in all things.
Dominic Raiola was asked after the game to gauge his level of excitement about the 2010 Detroit Lions team relative to all of the former teams he has been a part of in Detroit over the past ten years, and Dom, in his usual eternally-optimistic way with a boyish smile, couldn’t help but admit his high aspirations for this season. Dom believes the team is on to something special with the new cast that has been assembled in Detroit.
Raiola said, “Putting Rob Sims next to me is the best thing that’s happened in ten years.” You can tell how empowered Dominic feels now that the Lions appear to have found a competent addition at the left guard position, which has plagued the team since the untimely June 1992 passing of Eric Andolsek
As Brandstatter’s interview was coming to a close with Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, the former Georgetown linebacker made one thing perfectly clear:
“It’s time to do our jobs.”
“We put the preseason where it is – it’s over. Our focus now is on the Chicago Bears,” the determined Schwartz bristled.
Schwartz stressed that he and his staff will be judged by their performance during the regular season and by winning playoff games.
Coach Schwartz couldn’t move on from the preseason fast enough. His paradigm has already shifted only moments removed from the expiry of the Lions final preseason game.
As well it should.
Although my crystal ball lacks the luster to clearly detail who will or will not make the final 53-man roster, suffice it to say the staff will actually have to modestly lament a cut or two during the hours that lie ahead. This, Lions fans, is a good problem to have for change.
The 2010 Detroit Lions must take on the focus displayed by their head coach and use that laser-beam intensity to prove the naysayers wrong by beating the Bears on the road in Chicago.
No more meaningless games, coach. Agreed. You will now have the opportunity to be judged based on your team’s performance during the regular season and beyond.
Here’s to a winning season, coach. Lead on.
GO LIONS WIN!