Lions' fading season no failure, says coach Schwartz

Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:40pm EST
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(Reuters) - Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz is reluctant to describe his team's fading season as one of "failure", saying he was proud of the way his players kept battling as their fortunes dipped.

The Lions go into Sunday's regular season finale against the Vikings in Minnesota with a 7-8 record, having made a promising 6-3 start to their campaign before their momentum stalled.

"As a head coach standing up here, I have a hard time going down into our locker room with our players and calling them and calling us a failure," Schwartz told reporters on Monday.

"It is not what I believe. When I hear the word failure, I hear abject failure. Like nothing goes right. I'm still proud of our team. Our team comes to battle and they play through the game, we just come up and play short.

"Maybe my connotation of the word is a lot stronger than what you guys are thinking. We haven't accomplished what we wanted to accomplish and I'll just leave it at that."

The Lions, who have not won their division since 1993, watched their playoff hopes disappear in a 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

That defeat dropped Schwartz's overall record to 29-50 since he took over as head coach of Detroit in 2009.

"We didn't make the playoffs and I think that's obviously anybody's goal when they go in," Schwartz said. "We didn't achieve that goal, but I don't know if I'd be as strong to call it a failure."

COACHING RECORD   Continued...

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz talks with the officials during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Lions beat the Browns 31-17. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports