With our Detroit Lions at 1-5 some fans are practically calling for an end to head coach Jim Schwartz reign over the pride. They point to one category that the Leos lead the league in........Penalties.
As of the Giants game our Detroit Lions have committed 59 penalties resulting in 429 yards lost, in only six games. The next team on this infamous list is the Raiders with 55 penalties and 458 yards. (1*)
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Is it any wonder fans want to blame someone for these horrendous numbers? Many feel that the head coach is the one to shoulder all the responsibility . They cite what they believe is to be an obvious lack of discipline as the main culprit. They see Jim Schwartz patrolling the sidelines during the game and wonder "why hasn't he gotten in this players face" or declare "bench that guy."
But is that what we really want? Do we want a head coach that screams, yells, and throws clipboards??
Now I know some at this point are screaming HELL YES!
Or do we want a calm and composed head coach that continues to teach, and well quite simply coaches his young team.
Does Schwartz win if he gets in Kyle Vanden Bosche's face about an off sides penalty? KVB is a seasoned veteran. He knows he put the team in a bad position with that penalty during a key moment in the game.
There's a proper place and time to show your "angry face". I contend that we have yet to reach that place or time.
What happens if you bench a player for a mistake, who takes his place on this injury plagued roster. Do we really have that much depth at this juncture? If the mistake is by a rookie or second year player, isn't that part of the learning curve?
Schwartz, has been the consummate pro. He doesn't grandstand on the sidelines. One of his stated goals as a coach is to maintain his blood pressure. He has stated that he greatly admires the Tom Landry style of coaching. No matter the circumstance they players knew that Coach Landry was calculating his next several moves like a chess Grandmaster.
Publicly chewing out a player on the side line is ill advised with such a young team. I know, they aren't all rookies, but lest we forget, practically the entire roster has been turned over in two short years. Many of the younger players on this team are still figuring out what it means to play at this level. These are the ones you teach and coach to reach their full potential. Yelling doesn't equate to teaching, especially if it is done in public.
You don't conduct yourself in a professional manner, then turn into a raging tyrant/disciplinarian in public for all the world to see. That's what coordinators and position coaches are for. As Head Coach you hand out the fines in private and continue to treat your players like the pros they are.
Young talented players mixed with savvy veterans need more than 6 games to develop into a cohesive unit. Toss in all the injuries to key players, with rookies and veterans trying to put out extra effort to pick up the slack and the result is mistakes.... Aka Penalties.
The one major benefit in the schedule this year is that the bye week comes just when we need it most. This bye week can give us a tremendous boost. The timing is perfect not only for the physical health of the players, but also the mental break it gives them. They will have a chance to review, re-group, and re-focus, before they begin the easier portion of the 2010 season. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if the Lions were to get on a nice little roll to build on for next season.
Lest we forget a lot of talent has been brought together from the four corners of the globe. Some are seasoned, some are new, all have displayed a "Quitters never Win, Winners never Quit" attitude. Give them some time to become the stealthy, claw bearing, and dangerous pride that not only competes, but wins consistently week in and week out. That's when a team flush with confidence can understand and appreciate a head coaches tirade. To get there we need to stay the course. These days are coming, and I contend, sooner than some may think.
(1*) http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/sortableStatsTeam?div=NFL&sortType=offense&table=downs&stat=penTot&dir=descending&seasonState=regular .