As the NFL regular season came to a conclusion on Sunday, there are now only 12 teams that still have an opportunity to reach Super Bowl XLVIII. To no surprise, the Detroit Lions are not included as one of these teams and will now begin their preparation for the 2014 season.
Despite a 6-3 start to the season the Lions failed to win the NFC North; a division that was won by the Green Bay Packers with a 8-7-1 record. The Lions had countless opportunities to back their way into a playoff berth and choked their guts out in nauseating fashion, each and every time.
Detroit’s season can be defined as a team that was incapable of showing any sort of mental toughness, starting with Jim Schwartz. It has been reported that Schwartz will have a meeting with team officials on Monday morning to discuss his future with the team.
If the Lions choose to keep him around, a guy who has led this group of losers to become absolute failures this season, do not expect the team to even have a chance at making the playoffs next year. This is no longer a rebuilding process for the franchise, this is the time to compete for a championship. The first step in that process would be to fire Schwartz.
It is clear that Matthew Stafford will be the Lions’ quarterback for the foreseeable future. In order to get the best out of his talent, Detroit needs to bring in a coach who specializes at the quarterback position.
Based on this criteria there are three candidates that stick out; Bill O’Brien, David Shaw, and Ken Whisenhunt.
O’Brien is currently Penn State’s head coach but rumors are starting to swirl that he is meeting to be the next head coach for the Houston Texans. O’Brien was a part of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff from 2007-2011.
Shaw has been the head coach at Stanford since Jim Harbaugh left the school to become coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Shaw has been mentioned as a possible candidate for head coaching position at the University of Texas but has made comments alluding to that he will not be leaving Stanford.
Whisenhunt is currently the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and has done wonders for quarterbacks. He has head coaching experience in the NFL and is the most attainable of these three candidates.
The Lions desperately need somebody who will help evolve Stafford into an elite quarterback. The former number one pick is an extremely gifted player but his mechanics have not progressed and he has failed to become a mentally tough leader for his team.
If the Lions fail to acquire one of these coaches they need to find somebody who is not going to accept anything less than the absolute best out of his players. Two interesting names come to mind that are high on discipline and do not already have coaching jobs: Jon Gruden and Herman Edwards.
Whether or not these guys will even be considered for the job, assuming there is one, the Lions need a leader of their style.
Detroit must end the Jim Schwartz era and move forward. The fans are not willing to deem a 7-9 team that misses the playoffs as acceptable and neither should the team’s head coach.
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