Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is disappointed not to be in the playoffs, but said "failure" is the wrong label for the 2013 season.
"We didn't make the playoffs," Schwartz said Monday at his weekly day-after press conference. "But I don't know if I'd be as strong to call it a failure."
The Lions lost five of their last six games, including Sunday's overtime 23-20 defeat against the New York Giants which eliminated the Lions from postseason contention. Five of the team's eight losses this season were by four points or less.
"It's been a battle," Schwartz said. "The whole season. If you look at it that way, we're not that far away."
Schwartz, asked what his 29-50 record with the Lions should tell observers, was quick to remind media that he didn't take over a contender.
"I know where we were when I took over and I know where we are now," Schwartz said.
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, hobbled all season by a right knee injury, could be shut down for Week 17, which is now a meaningless game in the standings. A decision on his status wouldn't come until later this week, the coach said. Johnson has 84 receptions for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013.