Jim Schwartz studies numbers and appreciates how important they are. So surely he recognizes the daunting figures as he enters his fifth season as Lions coach. He’s 22-42 here and if he doesn’t show drastic improvement his job is in jeopardy. No one has said that publicly and nobody has declared a playoffs-or-bust mandate. But Schwartz is a smart guy who knows how the league works. His Inheritance Tax — taking over the worst team in football — has expired and it’s completely fair to demand more now. That’s the harsh reality as the Lions open training camp today. The good news is Schwartz sounds like he has the means (and the players) to fight back. “I’m the most confident I’ve been in my four years here as a head coach” Schwartz said Thursday. “We’re confident in our players we’re confident in our system. Everybody’s optimistic right now all 32 coaches but I think the thing that’s different with us is we have tangible reasons to be optimistic — some of the players we got back from injury some of the players we added some of the lessons we learned.” If a losing season was all about learning lessons the Lions would be the smartest team in football. Schwartz admitted to being humbled by the 4-12 collapse last season and if you know him that admission was approximately as painful as passing a kidney stone. But this wasn’t a pained defensive Schwartz lamenting last year’s off-field troubles and on-field woes. It was a laser-determined Schwartz with less talk about long-term plans and more talk about what has to happen now with a roster upgraded in key areas. His optimism starts with the Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson combo and includes a productive offseason that landed free agents Reggie Bush Glover Quin and Israel Idonije and rookie pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz knows job is at stake if team falters
Detroit News | Jul 26