Lions' problems go beyond Jim Schwartz

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
1:37
PM ET
If you were watching ESPN on Sunday morning, you know that ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported it isn't a lock that the Detroit Lions will bring back coach Jim Schwartz for a fifth season in 2013. From Mortensen's report:
"[L]eague sources say that even during the playoff season, the Fords were disturbed by a number of incidents that fell under Schwartz's domain. Schwartz's occasional gruff management personality also has come under scrutiny and will be addressed by ownership if Schwartz is back in 2013."

It's very fair to review a coach's performance after the kind of season the Lions have had. And the bottom line is Schwartz had had three losing seasons in his four-year tenure. But if we're trying to make an educated guess about Schwartz's status, we could probably come up with more reasons why he would return than get fired.

At the top of the list is a contract that runs another three years, through the 2015 season. The Lions aren't above eating long-term contracts from a financial standpoint, but firing Schwartz six months after adding three years to his contract would be admitting a substantial mistake and poor judgment of his capacity and ability to thrive in their organization.

I also question whether firing Schwartz would repair the "tattered team culture" Mortensen identified in his report. To be fair to him, Schwartz is one-third of the Lions' leadership team. Is he solely to blame for the Lions' culture? Don't general manager Martin Mayhew and team president Tom Lewand contribute to that as well?

My guess is this is a moot conversation. If Schwartz is fired in the coming days, we'll weigh in more extensively. Schwartz might not be the Lions' answer, but I don't think he represents all of their problems, either.

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