After a week of public discussion about the issue, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz did not bench any of the three players who received post-whistle personal fouls in a Week 13 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Instead, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Schwartz instituted a zero-tolerance policy that called for any offending player to be benched for the remainder of any game in which he committed that type of penalty. Several players mentioned the policy last week, but Schwartz would not confirm it. Still, Mortensen reported that Schwartz reminded players of it Saturday night in a team meeting.
Schwartz benched right tackle Gosder Cherilus in Week 2 after a late-game penalty in Week 1, prompting speculation that receiver Titus Young, kick returner Stefan Logan and/or tight end Brandon Pettigrew would suffer a similar fate Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. But all three made important contributions to a 34-28 victory.
Benching three prominent players sounds good in theory, but ultimately Schwartz didn't consider it realistic. He essentially became the parent that tells his children: "Don't do it again -- or else." Both the parent and Schwartz are hoping the threat is enough to avoid the "or else." So far, so good.