DETROIT -- The talk, the speculation, the everything for the next week will focus on Jim Schwartz's bleak future as Lions coach.
General manager Martin Mayhew declined to address Schwartz's job status before Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Giants, and after the Lions fell out of playoff contention with their fifth loss in six weeks, Schwartz tried his best to avoid the subject, too.
"It's hard enough dealing with this loss right here and getting the team back, we have a difficult week ahead of us with Christmas and everything else that goes into it," Schwartz said. "I admire this team and I'm proud to coach the team, I'm proud to stand among these guys. They're tough, they fight and I think that's what we'll be concerned with."
The Lions are 29-50 with one game left in Schwartz's fifth season as coach, and though they've had worse runs record wise, this year's late-season slide has been the most infuriating in recent memory.
After starting 6-3 and with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears both dealing with significant injuries at quarterback, the Lions were in prime position to run away with their first division title in 20 years.
But instead of vying for a playoff appearance, the Lions will spend the week answering questions about the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson and several other players insisted Sunday that Schwartz isn't to blame for their problems. But in the business of the NFL, it's rare a coach survives this long with this little success, even one with two years and, as ESPN reported, more than $12 million left on his contract.
"When it's bad, criticism comes like an avalanche so we've got to be prepared for it," Burleson said. "The good thing about most of the guys in this locker room, we understand the business and we know what's coming. You just got to let it happen and see what choices are made from here."
Schwartz said those choices -- whatever they are and whoever makes them -- won't be his focus this week.
He acknowledged Sunday that the Lions have "come a long way, but we're still not quite there, obviously," under his leadership. But he didn't directly answer questions about what he's done to earn another year and whether he expects to return as Lions coach.
"This is the truth: Speculation is not my business," Schwartz said. "My business is coaching the team and trying to keep the team focused and I think that's job enough without worrying about all the other stuff. Where we were, we can't worry about where we were. It's where you are in the present and we came up short today. We make no excuses for it."
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