Good morning and ROOOOAARRRR!!!!
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One of the most telling things about the Jim Schwartz era came from a non-answer during the news conference announcing his firing Monday afternoon.
General manager Martin Mayhew was asked a question that had been asked of Schwartz, Scott Linehan and Matthew Stafford at various points over the final month of the 2013 season.
Was Stafford being pushed enough? Held accountable enough?
And Mayhew, in his first public comments since before the regular season started, waved off the question but didn't dismiss it.
"I can't really comment on that," Mayhew said. "All I can say about this staff is that I know they worked their butt off for us to win. They did the best they could as a staff and I appreciate and respect each one of them."
Schwartz, when he was asked about this earlier this season, said every player was challenged by the staff, just not "publicly shamed." Linehan and Stafford both said Stafford was pushed enough.
But Stafford clearly regressed this season. He completed just 54.1 percent of his passes in the second half of the season with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as the Lions went 2-6 after the bye to go from 5-3 to out of the playoffs.
It is very, very possible that one of the criteria for the next Lions head coach will be tasked with either working with Stafford himself or hiring an experienced quarterback mind to do so.
And now a look around the Interwebs in search of Lions news:
Players were disappointed to see Schwartz fired and Stafford wouldn't mind input in the coaching search. Schwartz's fate, though, was always going to be tied to Stafford. Schwartz and the Lions never grew up. The blueprint for the Lions' new coach and some candidates who could fit.
Michael Rosenberg from Sports Illustrated writes that Bill O'Brien would be perfect in Detroit.
Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! writes that the best opening in the league is ... the Lions.
John Niyo of the Detroit News writes the Lions are in a win-now mentality. Bob Wojnowski says this is a critical hire for Mayhew. Josh Katzenstein writes that Schwartz should have job options somewhere else.
Four players made their debut for the Lions against Minnesota, writes Justin Rogers of MLive.