When the Detroit Lions gave him his first shot to be a head coach at any level in 2009, he talked about taking on and tackling challenges his entire life.
The Lions, though, took a big step back last year by losing their last eight games to flop to a 4-12 finish. With the slide, Schwartz lost his status as a coach with stability and acknowledged getting a dose of humility.
“It was humbling for me personally,” Schwartz said Thursday, the day before leading his first training camp practice of the year. “I think it was humbling for the team.”
The coach, though, often pays the price for a team’s failures. So Schwartz needs better results and fewer life lessons if he wants to stay in Detroit.
And he’s hardly the only one in the league with his job on the line.
“I think Jim would be the first to admit that there have been times where he’s learned on the job,” Ford said.
Schwartz, with a 22-42 record in Detroit, has declined to provide details about the lessons, but accepted Ford’s assessment.
“If you’re building cars on the line down the street, you’re selling insurance, you’re coaching or you’re a player, you’re going to learn,” Schwartz said earlier this summer. “And, you’re going to be better the second time you experience something or go through something.”
Ryan, hired the same year as Schwartz, may not get a second chance to bounce back from a losing season. Unlike Schwartz, Ryan is working for a general manager who didn’t hire him. Ryan’s contract runs out after 2014.
Jets owner Woody Johnson fired GM Mike Tannenbaum a day after last season and hired John Idzik. While Johnson does seem to be fond of Ryan, he’s not sold enough on him to extend his contract a second time.