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Lions players in Schwartz's corner

The SportsXchange

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Is it coaching or is it the players? The consensus among the Detroit Lions Wednesday was that the coaches have nothing to do with the recent 1-4 slide.

"I typically don't speak on that issue, but it is on the players," cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "The plays are called, but we as players have to execute. There's nothing Jim (Schwartz) has done to make us lose any ballgame. Nothing. I'm sure I am speaking for my locker room, we as players take the burden off his back and shoulder it ourselves.

"At the end of the day it's up to the players to be able to execute, and if we don't execute, that falls on us. It doesn't fall on any coach."

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said there was no way he could blame anything on the coaches when he, his defensive line mates or the team haven't played their best football "at any point in this season."

He was asked if he felt he was playing these last two games to save Schwartz's job.

"I think that's a part of it; everybody wants to win and the owners expect winning," Suh said. "Most importantly, you play for winning. You have to have a hunger to want to be a winner. That's what I play for. Obviously I don't want that coach to go anywhere. I love the scheme and I love the way things go here.

"But I don't think that has anything to do with right now."

As for the question of a lack of discipline and accountability, Mathis said those too were player issues.

"I always feel that a coach wants you to succeed, but as an individual, you have to want it more for yourself," he said. "There's nobody in this world that wants better for me than I want for myself. You have to feel like that as a professional athlete.

"If you are looking for a coach to guide you and correct you in each and every moment, you're in the wrong sport. You have to be able to discipline yourself. We have to be able to discipline ourselves. We have to be able to make plays when the plays are there to be made. When we watch film, we have to be more critical on ourselves than any coach could."

Suh said the mission this week against the Giants was to get back to the basics.

"We just have to get out of our own way," he said. "We are just making mistakes and we have to figure out ways to eliminate them. It's in all phases. Just get back to basics. I am not saying we got away from the basics, we just have to get back to being who we are."
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