Tim Twentyman: Jim Schwartz reiterates confidence in Scott Linehan

Posted Dec 27, 2012

When asked about his future Thursday, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said his only concern right now is with the Chicago Bears and Sunday's game plan.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was asked Thursday to evaluate his offense's performance this season and the job offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has done.

"I think he's done a great job," Schwartz said of Linehan. "Again, particularly the ball security stuff. An offensive coordinator's job is to put guys in position to make plays and I think that, over the course of the season, we've been in good position to make plays.

"The fact that we still have been able to continue to get the ball to Calvin (Johnson) … it was one thing when all those other (receivers) were healthy and we have a lot of other options.

"A lot of times people would say, ‘Hey you forget about Calvin a little bit when you have all those options?'

"Well we really haven't and defenses have known that too. They've taken the approach of trying to take him out of the game plan. Scott's done a good job of creating ways to still get him the football and Matt's (Stafford) done a good job of delivering the football."

There's always talk of changes when a team has as disappointing a season as the Detroit Lions have had. The Lions were expecting playoffs at the beginning of the year and are now playing the role of spoiler in hopes of stemming a seven-game skid Sunday vs. Chicago.

When asked about his future Thursday, Linehan said his only concern right now is with the Bears and Sunday's game plan.

"I haven't looked past Chicago and that's what you focus on," he said. "My focus will be on that and once the season's over focus on fixing some things that weren't quite right with this year and flipping the script next year."

So what are those fixes?

"To me, the difference in this year going through 15 games that's different than last year was really you've got to find a way to stay healthy and we've got to go back to where we were from a turnover standpoint," Linehan said.

"I think the turnovers have been the biggest difference. Interceptions are the same. We have probably seven more lost fumbles than we had last year. You're not going to win games in this league (behind in the turnover battle).

"You're losing possessions and giving other teams opportunities and that's not a good mix. That's going to be critical for this game."

Schwartz couldn't agree more when asked what he though ailed the offense at times this season.

"We turned the ball over too much," he said. "I think the bottom line of this league is score points and scoring enough points to win. For an offense, bottom line for the team is winning, but an offense needs to put points on the board.

"Whether it's a four down turnover or a fumble or an interception, we've had too many of them this year. We haven't scored enough points for our liking, which has led to not winning enough games."

Schwartz seemed to pin that more on the players not executing than on the coordinator.

Linehan knows all too well the unstable nature of the coaching profession at this level, but says he isn't worried about anything other than beating the Bears Sunday.

"If you're worried about saving your job instead of doing your job you're doing it for the wrong reason," he said. "So I think the biggest thing is getting ready to finish this season strong and then focus on what we've got to do to, like I said, flip the script next year."