July 7, 2015

Matthew Stafford can still save the Lions’ season, Scott Linehan’s job


Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions’ offense arguably had their worst showing this season, and on a national stage.

Just a year removed from their first playoff berth since 1999, the Lions once again became a Tuesday morning punchline in the eyes of millions, after a 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

The loss, coupled with a 2-4 start, has fans calling for offensive coordinator Scott Linehan‘s job. In addition, among the more frustrated yahoos, demands of a pink slip for head coach Jim Schwartz have found their way to forum boards and the various comment sections of the Detroit Free Press.

However, don’t get lost in the rants laced with exasperation and tomfoolery from anonymous men and women of the inter-webs; Schwartz’s job is safe. The man turned a perennial loser into a contender in the span of two years, and while the team has lacked discipline at inopportune times in the last three seasons, what he has accomplished to this point will give him at least another year at the helm.

The Fords don’t fire coaches or general managers that easily (see Matt Millen) and Martin Mayhew won’t cut ties with his first head coach as a general manager, at least not yet.

Linehan, on the other hand, could be in Mayhew’s cross-hairs; whether it’s before the end of the year or during the offseason. He’s in danger of becoming the proverbial scapegoat in this mess, along with special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, who both could pass for the cataclysmic upheaval fans are looking for.

Fortunately for Linehan, and believe it or not Stafford, this duo has an opportunity to turn the tables on what appears to be a dire situation. Stafford and Linehan have proven they can be dominant together and will have to do so again to see this partnership through. The Lions’ season and Linehan’s future with the organization hangs in the balance, but there is still time to save both, before the clock strikes zero in Week 17.

Detroit will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the league’s fifth best defense in terms of total yardage (297.3 YPG) and third in points allowed (15.1 PPG), in a must-win scenario. The term “must-win” is overstated at times, but with the Lions sitting two games below .500 and in the cellar of arguably the league’s most competitive division, that’s exactly what this game is.

The offense has to refocus their efforts, limit mistakes and concentrate on rediscovering some semblance of the air raid that was the 2011 Detroit Lions. The Lions have the talent necessary at every skill position to be highly productive, it’s just a matter of executing a game plan that combats the two-deep safety look that has given them fits.

It will be a tall task and require at least an 8-2 record the rest of the way to have a shot at the playoffs, but this season can be salvaged. It’s just a matter of finding the right parts and putting this year’s model, back together again.


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