Coaching stock watch: Schwartz up, Fisher down

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has his team going in the right direction while Jeff Fisher has the Titans going the wrong way.

Two years ago, then-Titans defensive coordinator Schwartz left Tennessee to accept the head coaching gig in Detroit. The Titans had finished that season with a regular season record of 13-3, best in the NFL. The Lions were winless at 0-16, worst in the NFL.
 
Fast forward two years and Schwartz’s Lions are playing good football. Earlier this year they had a tough schedule and lost some close games but didn’t quit. Here are the close losses they’ve had against playoff teams.

Week One – lost to the Bears by 5
Week Two – lost to the Eagles by 3
Week Four – lost to the Packers by 2
Week Nine – lost to the Jets by 3
Week Thirteen – lost to the Bears by 4
 

Then in Week Fourteen, they beat the Packers by 4.

 
This is one of those teams that is truly just a player or two away from being a very good team. They are just a few points away from beating the best teams in the league.
 
They’ve now won three games in a row, including back to back road wins, which probably hasn’t happened since Barry Sanders retired.
 
Close losses to playoff teams early in the season, and now on a three-game winning streak. If I was a Lions fan, I’d be excited about the future. With a few breaks, favorable calls or lucky bounces of the football here and there, Detroit could easily be 7-8 or even 8-7 now. One call they didn’t get was the Calvin Johnson play which looked like a game-winning touchdown to everybody but the zebras.
 
The Lions are in position to finish the season at 6-10 with a win over Minnesota on Sunday. If the Lions and Titans both finish the season at 6-10, which seems likely, the two 6-10s won’t be the same. The Lions will be an improving 6-10 team; the Titans will be a declining 6-10 team.
 
Two years ago, who would have thought these two teams at polar opposites would be where they are now? Who would have thought that in just two years Schwartz would have the lowly Lions in a better position than the mighty Titans?
 
Maybe we sent the wrong coach to Detroit. 
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