After seemingly having the NFC North division title firmly in their grasp the Detroit Lions are seeing their season slip away.
After being in control of the division with a 6-3 record with a sweep of the Chicago Bears, the Lions have dropped three of four and now sit in third place in the division at 7-7. The slump has put pressure on head coach Jim Schwartz to right the ship and get the Lions to the playoffs or risk being fired. Despite the Schwartz fielding questions about his job security the Lions players have came out and voiced support for the embattled coach.
Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was vocal about how he felt about Schwartz and the team.
"Am I playing for Jim's job? I think that's a part of it," Suh said today. "I'm sure everybody wants to win — the owners expect winning — but most importantly, you've got to play for winning, play to have a hunger to want to be a winner, and that's what I play for.
"Obviously, I don't want that coach to go anywhere. I love his scheme, love the way things go, but I don't think that has to do with anything right now. What we need to do is focus on getting these next two wins and, most importantly, we got to go and take care of business at home against the New York Giants."
Maybe he doesn't want Schwartz to go because he never disciplines him when he does anything wrong. Maybe a coach that would come in and be hard on him and make him accountable is something he might not like.
Nate Burleson knows that it's the players that ultimately decide games but coaches always pay the price.
"You look at all the losses we've had, it's came down to plays we didn't make," receiver Nate Burleson said. "It seems like there's always a point in the game where we have a chance to extend the lead or put ourselves in position to control the rest of the game, and we don't do that, so we can't look further than the guys wearing the jerseys.
"Maybe it's just older guys talking; we want to shoulder the responsibility anyway. I think that's the best way to look at it anyway. The coward's way out is trying to point the finger in other directions. So if anybody wants to give criticism, give it to the players, not the coaches. They don't suit up. They make the calls that put us in the position to be successful, and we've got to capitalize and make those plays happen."
Correct Nate, but when it's third and short Schwartz shouldn't be cosigning play calla that have an empty backfield and shotgun formations. That's why fans and media always jump on the coach.
The Lions have a chance to stop the bleeding as they will face the reeling New York Giants on Sunday. the way things are going for the Lions this game won't be a gimme. They'll be favored but with both teams struggling something will have to give. The Lions still have a shot at the division crown but will need help by the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers and they'll have to take care of business themsleves.
"We let go of an opportunity to put these other teams away," Suh said. "We opened the door back for them. We still have an opportunity to take care of business, and it's most important that we do our part, or none of it matters. And that's what we've yet to do, to this point, is do our part and close the door. So now we've let a bunch of ants in the house and now you've got to go get an exterminator to get them out."