- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Former Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz did the radio rounds in his former haunt of Nashville today on 104.5 FM and was asked a lot about his five years with the team and many of the players he coached.
Here are other highlights from his two appearances on 104.5, where you can listen to the morning interview in its entirety. The afternoon interview highlights are below.
Schwartz said he felt some of his Lions teams were paying for the ineptitude of Lions teams in the past -- I'm using the word ineptitude, not him -- but he clearly felt that was not fair to the players and coaches he worked with. "I was in Detroit for a while and it seemed like we were always paying for the sins of previous teams," Schwartz said. "There was a road losing streak or division losing streak and we were holding teams and guys accountable for stuff that happened 10 years before. That's not always fair in this league. It's part of the conversation of this league but it's not always fair to the current players, the current coaches."
Like every coach ever, Schwartz thought the Lions were close to being bigger winners last season and he likes a lot of what Detroit had this season. As he mentioned during the morning show, depth was an issue, but the Lions had a good group of players beyond the marquee stars of Stafford, Suh and Calvin Johnson. In all of his star talk, he did not mention Reggie Bush, but I wouldn't read too much into that. "I think there are still some good pieces in place, obviously with Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh," Schwartz said. "You have three marquee players but it's not just them. There are some other good players. I thought our offensive line was good and we were right in it right till the end of the year. All our games were close last year. I think that's one of the things that I think was so frustrating for our fans and for people around the NFL is that every game was so close."
One thing Schwartz did admit is the team, at times, had discipline issues on the field -- perhaps the most in 2011, the same year the team went to the playoffs. He called it a "legitimate concern" but also felt the team was much better, discipline-wise, during his final two seasons with the Lions.
"A couple years ago, particularly in 2011, in safe to say our playoff year, I think that criticism was fair. We had too many penalties after the whistle and things like that," Schwartz said. "We worked really hard the last couple years to clean that stuff up. But once it's on your resume, so to speak, you have a hard time getting it off. I think that's the way it goes with this league. You pay for the sins of past teams and in 2011, I think that was a legitimate concern but it was part of the growing-up process for our team and learning how some of those things affected and things like that.
"I think if you look particularly the last couple years, including last year, you didn't see the same things come up that came up in the past. They were addressed and our team learned from them and they learned and they held them back. We were just a play away from winning a lot of games and I don't know if you'd consider a dropped pass or missed tackle or something like that, I see those as physical errors. I don't see those as discipline errors."