When we think of underrated and overrated players on a football team, we tend to search for the quarterback or the player who just got the new contract after one year of stellar play. We never think of the backup guard or the third-down pass rusher. And we never think of the coach.
This might be one of those articles where a case can be made for a coach hanging on too long and doing more harm to the franchise than good.
When Jim Schwartz was named the head coach to the Detroit Lions, I thought the hire was solid - a defensive mind to counter the potential high power offensive engine in Michigan.
Schwartz was not the solution to the problem in his first two seasons 2009 and 2010, posting records of 2-14 and 6-10. The 2010 season however saw the Lions win their last four games, giving fans hope this team was on the rise.
In 2011, Schwartz took his Lions led by the arm of Matthew Stafford and the pass catching of Calvin Johnson to the playoffs. The team was young and hungry and appeared to be one of the rising franchises in the NFL. They may have lost in the first round of the NFC playoffs, but the league saw a little about this team and the fire power this offense could muster.
Then, it all fell apart.
Last season, the Lions finished last in their division and 4-12 overall. He was given a reprieve and was retained as head coach, but the 2013 might be his last at the helm in Detroit unless this team wins.
For all the anticipation and all of the potential with its offensive superstars (which now added Reggie Bush) and the potential on defense (Ndamukung Suh, Nick Fairley) this is a team that must show it is on the rise or Schwartz will be an overrated bust and certainly out the door in Detroit.
If Schwartz is to remain as head coach, he will call on his players to pick up the slack and play like champions. One of those players he will call on is defensive back Louis Delmas.
Delmas has been solid for the Lions as a defensive back coming out of Western Michigan in 2009.
The second round pick has quietly put together four solid years in the Lions secondary. And to many observers, he is one of the more underrated players in the league.
Delmas made an impact in his first week of play in the NFL when he returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown against New Orleans. While we as fans might not know about Delmas and his play, the NFL sure does. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate for the NFC after the 2010 NFL Season.
Delmas was named a Pro Bowl alternate for the NFC after the 2011 NFL season, despite missing 5 games to injuries. If you miss that much time and make that much of an impact, then you can’t help but improve your football team.
Delmas signed a two-year contract with Detroit this offseason for over $9 million. If he continues to play at this high level, he may just outstay his current head coach.