DETROIT -

After the 6-3 start, the Lions appeared destined for the playoffs.

"If you would have told me we were going to have this conversation after Thanksgiving, I would have told you you were crazy," offensive lineman Dominic Raiola said. "It's not easy, it's never easy."

When the season ended with another disappointing loss yesterday, it seemed inevitable that something had to change on a team with too much talent to lose six of its last seven games. That change was announced Monday afternoon, when head coach Jim Schwartz was fired. Schwartz addressed his team for the final time Monday to tell them the news personally.

"It was a heart-felt moment," wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "A lot of guys were shocked, but we appreciate the fact that he stood in front of us, like a man."

The reaction from the players this afternoon was predictably somber

"We wanted him back," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "Obviously we can't make the decision to have him back, but he was a players' coach and treated us like men."

When it comes to blame, the Lions' players share that with their now-departed head coach.

"You could say we were undisciplined," Raiola said. "That's not a reflection of him, that's just us being undisciplined at times, being selfish."

At last count, six coaches were fired today around the NFL, because one thing doesn't change, no matter where you go.

"It's a cut and dry, wins and loses kind of business," quarterback Matthew Stafford said.