Lions coach focused on next game, not job security
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz isn’t interested in talking about his job security.
The Lions blew another late lead and lost at home Monday night to Baltimore, 18-16. The Lions (7-7) have led the NFC North much of the season, but may miss the playoffs after losing four of their last five games. Detroit needs to win its final two games and hope for a combination of losses by division leader Chicago and Green Bay to secure a playoff berth.
If job security is on Schwartz’s mind, it didn’t show on Tuesday.
”I don’t think it does any good for me or my team to keep focusing on that,” he said after being asked if he’s worried about losing his job. He declined to elaborate on what he’s thinking about his future or if he’s spoken with owner William Clay Ford recently.
”I look at it like we’re one game down with two to play,” he said. ”As much as it keeps sounding like the same thing, it’s true. We can’t let anything detract from that.”
The luster of the Lions’ 6-3 start has faded and the team, which entered last weekend with the division lead, walked off the field Monday third in the division. The Lions are 1-4 since a Nov. 10 win at Chicago left them in the driver’s seat. Losses at Pittsburgh and at home to Tampa Bay were among the lowlights.
The struggling New York Giants come to town Sunday for the Lions’ home finale and Detroit finishes the season Dec. 29 at Minnesota.
”We’ve had some very winnable games; very, very winnable games,” safety Glover Quin said. ”For us not to win those games, it’s heartbreaking. But we’ve got two more that we can go out and win and, hey, all you can do is fight to the finish. We’ve got to win our games – hopefully somebody helps us out.”
Schwartz, who has lost eight straight December/January games as coach, according to STATS, has two years left on his contract. The franchise has not disclosed details of the contract extension he signed after leading the Lions to a wild card berth after the 2011 season.
That was Detroit’s only winning season under Schwartz, who is 29-49 over five seasons.
The coach hardly is the only man to blame for the Lions’ woes.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown nine interceptions in the Lions’ last four games – including three against the Ravens – and All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson had a pair of critical drops in what has been another standout season. Untimely penalties and clock-management decisions also have hurt.
Some wondered about the Lions’ strategy as Ravens kicker Justin Tucker lined up for a 61-yard field goal that turned out to the game winner. Even keeping the 6-5 Johnson or 6-7 tight end Joseph Fauria back to swat the ball before it made it to the crossbar crossed Schwartz’s mind.
”You can’t goal tend a field goal,” Schwartz said. ”Believe me, that’s been thought of before.”
Notes: Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was injured late in the game and underwent tests on an ankle Tuesday. Schwartz said cornerbacks Chris Houston (toe) and Darius Slay (knee) could return this weekend. Both players missed Monday’s game.