Late Sunday afternoon, Detroit coach
"Don't you ever go conservative on me.''
"I won't, coach,'' said Stafford.
Schwartz was happy enough about the Lions' first win in 21 months. But also he was happy with his quarterback, and he wanted to be sure he used this opportunity for a teaching moment, to reinforce to Stafford why the Lions drafted him in the first place -- for his arm, for his confidence, for his moxie.
One play in Sunday's game thrilled Schwartz about Stafford. With less than three minutes left and Detroit nursing a 19-14 lead, the Lions had a second-and-nine at their 21. Washington had three timeouts left, so the Lions needed two first downs to bleed the clock down to zero. On this play, Detroit offensive coordinator
"I think our coaches were freaking out on that one,'' said Stafford.
Maybe, but the big coach wasn't. "I'm very happy with Matthew's development,'' Schwartz told me Monday night. "That's the kind of play a mature quarterback makes -- he knows when to take a smart chance.''
Big win for the Lions. Maybe bigger for Detroit, in a couple of ways. Schwartz emphasized to his team -- and to me -- that the season has to be bigger than breaking the 19-game losing streak. "Sunday's game was great,'' he said. "The atmosphere in the stadium felt like a playoff game. We've got to get to the point where a Week 3 win isn't celebrated like a playoff win. We're a 1-2 football team. Nothing more. We need to get this win behind us and get ready to play a great game every week. We need to expect to win every week, not just hope to win. Hope is not a good strategy.''
When I spoke with Stafford, I reminded him that he told me at the Scouting Combine, about how much he wanted to play for the Lions. I was so skeptical of his comment that I asked his parents, independent of each other, what team they thought their son wanted to play for. Both said Detroit right away. "That's the way I felt then, and that's how I feel now,'' he said.
Any qualms when he sees how quickly the Jets have put it together with fellow rookie QB
"Never,'' he said. "Maybe it'll take longer here than it does for Mark in New York, but that's OK. We're going to get it done here."
Getting it done there includes playing for a depressed city and region. Both men feel it. Schwartz took his top three draft picks -- Stafford,
"It was not a made-for-TV moment, '' said Schwartz. "I just wanted to make sure those guys knew where they were playing -- and how important they are to this community.''
The Lions are going to have some lean days. The next three weeks: at Chicago, Pittsburgh, at Green Bay. But as long as their young coach and young quarterback understand it's about the long haul, they should exit 2009 with more hope than the team has had in some time.
Two other comments before the e-mail:
1. Carolina fans shouldn't fixate on whether
2. I couldn't agree more with the comment this morning by
Now for your e-mail:
Well, the Raiders want the story to go away, obviously.
All Sanchez has to do is penetrate the plane of the goal line with the ball in his possession, which he did. That's different entirely from what Louis Murphy did in the end zone. When you go to the ground with a catch, and the ball moves perceptibly in his possession because it has contacted the ground, the officials have to call that an incompletion.
I don't think the offensive gameplan was bad at all the other day, Todd, and thanks for your comments. The 49ers front seven is underrated, and remember that Childress understands very well who he has at quarterback. He doesn't want
It'd be one thing if Fisher had lost his locker room, which he has not done. But I'll make this not-so-profound statement: If a coach who piloted his team to the best record in the conference last year, and who is 31-17 over the last three years, is in trouble with one shaky year, then no coach west of
There's one problem with your case, which I agree is compelling and I have much empathy with: Once you let the genie out of the bottle, how are you going to put it back in? If unemployment in Detroit is 29 percent this year and you show the games locally, there are two problems. If it's still 29 percent next year, how do you black out the games again, and how do you sell tickets to a struggling fan base when the fans know the games are going to be on local TV? And then what do you do in Jacksonville if unemployment continues to creep up? How does