After watching the debacle that was MNF against the Ravens, I chose to avoid all sorts of media, including SportsCenter (which I watch every morning while getting ready), Facebook and Twitter. Being that Twitter is usually my main source for leads on what’s going on in the world, it was a rather drastic move, but I couldn’t bear to relive the ‘natural’ disaster that is the Lions team right now. I have since come to my senses, and am ready to face the fact: we lost, we played terrible, and you can’t lay blame on any one scapegoat. Here’s my version of the blame game:
Matt Stafford – I love this guy as much as the next Lions fan, but he has really thrown some TERRIBLE interceptions in his career. They have been a momentum killer and ultimately many have led to an eventual Lions loss. I understand the dynamics of receivers running a wrong route, tipped balls, or defenses having great positioning – but someone is still throwing the ball, and throwing it far too many times to the wrong team. Matt needs to clean this up. He is currently 3rd in the league in interceptions. 3rd! 17 interceptions thru 14 games. 28 touchdowns thru 14 games. You can’t win games throwing only 2.0 touchdowns a game and 1.2 interceptions a game.
Jim Schwartz – I haven’t joined the ranks of people that are calling for Jim’s head, yet, but he needs to tighten up the ship a bit. There is no question that the Lions are one of the least disciplined team in the league – I don’t think I can find a loss this year that the Lions got beat by a better team, instead beat themselves. Reggie Bush was quoted this week as saying that the lack of discipline is hurting the team, but coaching isn’t the problem, and I disagree. Discipline begins with the coach. We’ve seen what a passionate coach he is, especially during handshakes, how about some of that passion at your team? I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors of practice, but during games, he’s like everyone’s best friend. Players are like kids – they yearn for discipline from their parents (coaches) and don’t want a friend. Toughen up that iron fist a bit Coach, the season – and possibly your Lions career – is coming quickly to an end.
Coordinators – At some point in almost every NFL season, every team wants to fire its coach, and or one of its coordinators. The only teams that are safe from that are the ones that go 16-0. Even 15-1 teams hear cries of “fire them”, usually after that first loss. I think the coordinators on both sides of the ball have struggled mightily at times this year. One thing that sticks out to me was a throw on 3rd-and-2 Monday night. I’m hoping this week was filled of meetings, and getting EVERYONE back on the right and same page. They might cost Schwartz his job, and will probably be close behind him if he sees the door. Call the plays that showcase the strengths the Lions have, not the strengths you WANT them to have.
Receivers – I’d have to say there are a few receivers that are playing for their lives these last 2 games of the regular season. I have one tip – hold on to the ball. Catch it when it hits your hands. Maintain control when you are being tackled. Stop fumbling. Don’t throw the ball back inbounds when you are being tackled out of bounds. Alright, more than one tip, but you get my drift. The receiving corps has had a brutal year this year. I think it was almost fitting that Megatron had some big drops on prime time TV. It was a tribute to how it’s been going for them this year. Take a step back, focus, play simple football guys, don’t try to be Megatron or get too fancy.
That Baltimore kicker guy – Yes, I know his name. I just refuse to say it. HOW DO YOU MAKE A 61-YARD FIELD GOAL? Insane. He was the one that scored a whole bunch of points. He gets some blame, at least this week. Thankfully we’re done with him this regular season.
The Fans – This pains me as much as all of you reading, but just hear me out. There is something to be said about being a loyal fan thru 0-16 and all sorts of losing seasons, but is our loyalty costing us success? The Lions continue to draw a crowd to games – is ownership not trying as hard to field a good team since they are getting the money anyways? I’d like to say no, but you can’t help but wonder…would a mutiny by the fans be a wakeup call?
I am sure there are other parties that maybe other people would include, but for me, I think this is where my ‘blame’ lies. Talk to me at about 8:00pm on Sunday, I’ll have a whole new hitlist, especially if the Lions don’t come out with a W!