We started our 2013 NFL season with an exchange of Five Good Questions with our friends from Pride of Detroit. That's the way we're going to end it as well, and these questions have a markedly different perspective than the ones from early September do.
Here are the questions I sent to Sean Yuille, who has been the head blogger over at PoD since its inception. Once they post the questions I answered for them, I will put the link to them in this space somewhere.
1) What do you think the odds are that Jim Schwartz is the head coach of the Detroit Lions after Monday morning?
They seem pretty slim at this point. All signs point to Schwartz being fired following the Lions' second straight collapse in the second half of the season. There's really no way the Lions could justify a sixth season for Schwartz given how they managed to give away their best shot ever at winning the NFC North title, and considering there are already reports suggesting that the Lions are reaching out to candidates to replace Schwartz, I can't imagine a situation where he is retained for 2014.
2) You've called for the firing of Jim Schwartz. If the Lions do dump him, do you have any candidates or types of coaches you would like to see replace him?
My hope is that the Lions will target an offensive-minded head coach who has experience working with quarterbacks. The top priority for whoever the Lions' coach is next year will be to fix Matthew Stafford and get him to play up to his potential. He has been far too inconsistent, and that's why I think hiring someone like Bill O'Brien would make a lot of sense. The man turned Matt McGloin into an NFL quarterback. I would love to see what he could do with Stafford.
3) After nine games, the Lions were 6-3 and appeared to be riding high as far as winning the NFC North and a trip to the post-season. What has happened since then to put the Lions in the spot they're in now?
Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers. The Lions just haven't been able to take care of the ball in the second half of the season. There have been some defensive collapses here or there, but their struggles all go back to turnovers. If you could go back in time and eliminate just a few turnovers in certain games in the second half of the season, the Lions would likely have the NFC North title clinched. Instead, they are out of the NFC North title race.
4) Where do you think the Detroit Lions will be focusing their attention this off-season?
Aside from finding a head coach, their top needs appear to be wide receiver, cornerback and safety. The Lions have been searching for years for a credible No. 2 wide receiver to go along with Calvin Johnson, but they haven't had much luck finding one yet. My early prediction for the first round of the draft is that the Lions will target a wide receiver like Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or Marqise Lee. If they don't go after a wide receiver, a cornerback or safety would make a lot of sense. Their secondary hasn't been good this season, and the lack of a true top cornerback has been a big reason behind their struggles. Safety Louis Delmas has also contributed quite a bit to some breakdowns in the secondary, and given that he's set to make $5.5 million next year, I can't imagine he will remain on the team.
5) The Lions/Vikings game on Sunday will be the final one in the history of the Metrodome. How happy will Lions fans be to see the place go?
It has really been a house of horrors for the Lions over the years, so fans are definitely glad that this is the end of the road for the Metrodome. Aside from the fact that it will be cool to see the Vikings play outdoors for a couple years before moving into a much-needed new stadium, the Metrodome is just a really tough venue for opposing teams. I suppose that's part of the charm for the Vikings, but I'm thrilled this is the Lions' final game there.