Head Coach Jim Schwartz clarified Monday that he has shifted gears with the end of the regular season.
“We need to make good decisions and sometimes those decisions aren’t made for what happens in the next month or in the next six months,” he said.
Schwartz said that the Lions aren’t going to focus on instant gratification, meaning there won’t be a bar set to win ‘X amount of games.’
“I’ve been a part of mandates from ownerships that said, ‘Hey look, if it’s not won this year then we’re blowing this thing up and we’re starting this thing all over,’” said Schwartz. “(And) what happened is: there were poor decisions that were made.”
The reality that Detroit is in the midst of rebuilding after a number of tough seasons is something Schwartz is in-tune with, but he is also adamant that he wants to make sure things are done in a way that will fuel long-term success.
Instead of making decisions that will solely benefit Detroit for the upcoming season, he wants to take an objective look at everything to make sure the Lions have a firm foundation.
“Immediate gratification is not a recipe for success,” he said. “Our goal is long-term success for this team and building this team the right way.”
This perspective contrasts Schwartz’s message during the regular season that the goal is to win each game each week without looking ahead. But even though those messages are different, they fit the time of year.
“Once we got into the season, I don’t know if you ever heard me say the word: improve,” said Schwartz. “Once the season begins it’s about winning on that Sunday. I think you need to balance both of those.”
Now that the season is over, the objective is improvement. As he established with his arrival last year, Schwartz’s primary message to the team is to improve each day with each practice without losing focus by looking toward the upcoming season.
From a front office standpoint, that improvement will come with free agency and the draft.
“The objective has got to be to improve the talent level, to improve the players that you have and to make progress there, not to talk about winning a game,” said Schwartz. “I mean, it’s January, we don’t play this week. Our objective is not to win a game this week.
“Our objective is to make good decisions and to improve our talent level and to improve everything about this football team so that we’re in position to be able to win games next year and in the future.”
The first opportunity to do that may come with an invitation to coach the Senior Bowl at the end of January.
“We haven’t received any confirmation of that yet but there’s a very good chance that we will coach the Senior Bowl and we would relish that opportunity,” said Schwartz. “I’ve done that before, I’ve been on different staffs before, and that’s a great opportunity to get to know some of the best college football players in the country.”
Beyond the Senior Bowl will be the NFL Scouting Combine, free agency and the NFL Draft, to which Detroit will be selecting second-overall.
“You can’t make decisions, then change, and make decisions, then change and keep trying different results,” said Schwartz. “You need to have good, sound philosophies; you need to make good decisions; you need to do it over a period of time, and when you do your franchise will be where you want it to be. If you don’t, then you’re not going to have success.”