Allen Park — Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz wasn’t able to get his message across in the third quarter of Sunday’s 48-3 loss to Baltimore.
By giving the team Monday off, he has given himself 48 hours before he has to try again.
Schwartz’s first attempt came with Baltimore leading 34-3 and driving again. He called a time out, and acknowledged it wasn’t for strategic reasons.
“That wasn’t to discuss the formation or to conserve time,” he said. “The reason I called it was to let them know the urgency I felt to get them stopped, and how I was going to feel if we didn’t get that done. I wasn’t even talking. I was speaking in tongues, and I hope there weren’t any cameras around.”
It didn’t work, as Willis McGahee scored two plays later to give the Ravens a 38-point lead.
“It’s easy to tell them that I want something done — it is harder to have it happen,” Schwartz said. “There’s no magic way to call a time-out and make us stop the other team.”
Schwartz didn’t hold his normal Monday team meetings in order to give the front office and coaching staff more time to evaluate game film. After several viewings, they left him with mixed feelings.
“I think that if you ask me if the team quit, the resounding answer is no,” he said. “But did we always play tough and always play physical? The answer to that is no. To me, quit has connotations of not trying, and I’m saying the team played with effort. There’s a difference between not trying and not getting it done. We didn’t get it done.”
The rookie coach also said that the final score and Baltimore’s record-setting offensive performance probably weren’t a fair reflection on Detroit’s performance.
“The score and the stats can be skewed by the head coach being very stubborn and putting his defense in bad positions,” he said. “I don’t think we punted a single time in the second half, because I wasn’t in much of a mood to punt. When you are punting in a game like that, it is like sending a message to go warm up the buses because we were ready for it to be over.”
Schwartz declined to directly compare his team’s talent level to Baltimore’s, but did say later that fans need to be realistic about Detroit’s ability.
“We can be honest, there is a significant portion of our roster that is on our roster because they were castoffs from other rosters,” he said. “There were teams that didn’t want them or let them go. We need to make sure that those players aren’t in the same position with us.”
Detroit’s roster, as thin as it already was, took a significant hit when running back Kevin Smith sustained a season-ending knee injury.
“There’s definitely at least one torn ligament — I don’t think we can say multiple until we get the tests back — but he’ll need surgery,” Schwartz said. “We’ll know more in the next few days about his status going into next season.”
Schwartz didn’t have as much information on rookie quarterback Matt Stafford, who missed the Ravens game after aggravating a shoulder injury the week before in Cincinnati.
“Right now, things are unchanged, but we don’t know how things will progress as the week goes on,” he said. “Last week, he was very sore and he couldn’t play, and if he stays that sore, he won’t play again on Sunday.”