Detroit Lions: An Open Letter To Head Coach Jim Schwartz

Michael SuddsCorrespondent INovember 7, 2010

DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz watches the action during the game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Redskins 37-25.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Dear Coach Schwartz,

I know that I speak on behalf of Lions fans everywhere. I know that we are all alarmed after the 23-20 home loss against the New York Jets as to how you contributed to this outcome and how you plan to rectify it.

Let’s review.

You were determined to run Jahvid Best between the tackles against one of the elite run defenses in the NFL. Did you and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan feel that this would mitigate the Jets blitz?

How did that work for you, coach?

The results were predictable. Best, who needs space in order to be successful, found none. In fact, Best was stopped repeatedly for a loss.

Why wasn’t Kevin Smith used more in those probes of the Jets' interior defense? Smith is a more physical running back and has the experience to deal with an elite rushing defense. So why was Smith coached into irrelevance?

Is it time to bench offensive guard Stephen Peterman? He is the most penalized Lions player, but you give him free rein to play an undisciplined style that cripples your team.


To even the most casual observer, Linehan’s play-calling is cowardly and predictable. You have a marquee matchup of Calvin Johnson vs. Darrelle Revis. What did you do with this mismatch?

You punked out. You used your best offensive weapon as a decoy after Revis made a play to knock down a pass intended for Johnson in the first quarter.

Do you fail to understand that football is an “in your face” confrontation? Calvin Johnson needs to compete and beat the best competition out there before the Lions can have any kind of success.

Johnson needs to be a weapon of mass destruction, as opposed to a weapon of mass distraction.

Johnson is being misused. Horribly so.

Admit it.

With all due respect, coach Schwartz, but where was the innovative defense that we saw against the Washington Redskins?

Your defense was as static as that of a chess board. Without guile, sans blitz and without reason.

Predictable, reactive, and, in consideration of your weak secondary, untenable. Puerile.

When will you levy team penalties against those who make game-changing penalties? Are you a slave to your players?

Julian Peterson committed an unforgivable personal foul, at a critical juncture. It was obvious. It was unforgivable. It cost the Lions dearly.

How do you respond in the face of a player who puts the game, the team, and your job at jeopardy?

Finally, coach Schwartz, how can you possibly rationalize not communicating effectively with your backup quarterback that all he needed to do was run the ball?

I understand that you must convey an aura of implicit trust in a player’s ability to understand and respond to a given situation with an appropriate response.

In every case, it is the ultimate responsibility of the head coach to clearly communicate the stakes, the rationale and the consequences to his players.

That’s why we have timeouts, coach. Players do not instinctively know your intentions.

In summary, I believe that your offensive and defensive game plans were destined to fail. This was not a failure of players not making plays as much as it was a systemic failure of you and your coaching staff’s lack of creativity and aggressiveness.

I, for one, never want to see a repetition of this fiasco again.