I mistakenly assumed, given the California time difference, that I would awake to news of Jim Schwartz's firing. I did not. After a few hours of refreshing Twitter like a madman, it finally came through.
I think back to his hiring in 2009-- a Georgetown educated former middle linebacker with a track record of success working under Jeff Fisher in Tennessee-- and can't help but feel saddened at what could have been. Instead, Schwartz has turned a young, talented group of players into a team of undisciplined and unaccountable individuals. There is a reason why defensive players continue to commit boneheaded penalties without consequence, and why Stafford continues to throw with poor mechanics: it's coaching.
At this point, I feel comfortable with Mayhew and Lewand remaining in their current roles. This comfort is cushioned by the fact that the first draft class Brian Xanders assisted with has been just short of phenomenal. The coaching choice is obviously the most critical thing right now, and I believe the Lions finally have the talent in place to attract a winner.
With the talent not being an issue, for once, the culture takes center stage. Can the new coach make them believe? Can he make them accountable? Can he help them perform consistently? Can he help them WIN? It became very clear this season that Schwartz was incapable of any of the above.