Posted January 14, 2014

Jim Caldwell hired by Detroit Lions

AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, NFC North
Jim Caldwell (right) will replace Jim Schwartz as coach of the Lions.

Jim Caldwell (right) will replace Jim Schwartz as coach of the Lions. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Jim Caldwell’s personality may not be the exact opposite of Jim Schwartz’s, but he was far enough removed on the spectrum for the Detroit Lions to tab him as their next head coach. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported that the Lions had decided to hire Caldwell.

After ending Schwartz’s often emotionally charged five-year tenure, the Lions made clear that they wanted to bring in an experienced coach capable of harnessing a talented but unsteady roster. Caldwell brought with him to the table the backing of Tony Dungy, one of the most respected coaches in NFL history. Dungy chose Caldwell to succeed him in Indianapolis in 2009, then vouched repeatedly for Caldwell during the recent interview process.

“Lions should have hired Caldwell already,” Dungy tweeted Tuesday morning, mere hours before the hiring. “He is the best coach for the job. For what they need he is perfect.”

Caldwell helped lead the Colts — with a major assist from Peyton Manning — to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2009, the franchise’s first after Dungy retired. Indianapolis won the AFC South again the next season, at 10-6, but then plummeted to a 2-14 mark as Manning sat out the 2011 campaign following neck surgery. Caldwell was let go following that performance, which left the Colts in position to draft Andrew Luck No. 1 overall.

Caldwell landed with the Baltimore Ravens as the team’s quarterbacks coach, then was promoted to offensive coordinator late during the 2012 regular season. With Caldwell calling the plays, Baltimore went on to secure a playoff spot and win the Super Bowl.

The team enjoyed far less success this season — Baltimore finished 8-8, with the league’s 25th-ranked offense in terms of points scored..

However, Caldwell still ticked off many of the boxes Detroit had in mind during its search, including a background working with quarterbacks. Caldwell did just that under Joe Paterno at Penn State, jumped to the NFL in 2001 as the Buccaneers’ QB coach and one year later settled in as the assistant head coach under Dungy.

He reportedly impressed Detroit’s front office during his initial interview, too, by breaking down Matthew Stafford’s game tape with the Lions’ quarterback and highlighting areas where Stafford could improve. How much progress the soon-to-be 26-year-old Stafford makes between now and the 2014 season may determine just how successful Caldwell is at the outset.

In addition to Stafford’s presence, Caldwell will find in Detroit a roster that appeared talented enough to win a downtrodden NFC North this season. The Lions once were 6-3 and all alone in first place in the division, before finishing with a 1-6 close that led to Schwartz’s ouster.

Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson remain the building blocks on offense, with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and 2013 first-round pick Ziggy Ansah anchored on an imposing defensive line.

“I think this will be one of the most, if not the single most, attractive head coaching opportunity in the National Football League for a lot of different reasons,” Lions president Tom Lewand said during the press conference to announce Schwartz’s firing. “The expectation is to bring a consistently-winning football team to the city of Detroit immediately.”

Up until Monday, the Lions had been rumored to be all-in on former San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who instead took the Titans’ job. Whisenhunt, Caldwell, Gary Kubiak and Mike Munchak all interviewed with the Lions.

96 comments
RonBruno
RonBruno

I realize that I'm late in joining this conversation about the Caldwell hire and I'm really sorry to say that I'm not an expert on who or who shouldn't be a coach in the NFL... I'd really just like to add my 2 cents and either way I guess I'll just do that.

This goes out to all of you Lions fans who are criticizing the upper level for the hiring of Caldwell. Going from 6-3 to 7-9 (1-6) is an embarrassment to say the least. I truly believe that all of you fans should take a BIG step back and be VERY HAPPY that they could find someone to even coach this (choking) team.. Period!

 

Anyway, I've said what I wanted to say but in closing, I'd like to give a huge shout-out to that self proclaimed 'Historian (know it all) of Football' that calls himself 'The District' and who actually said to 2 fellow fans and I'm quoting "Seriously, stop commenting here. It's unbelievable how little you actually think (I believe he meant "you actually think you know") and have any ability to think critically" and also said "You know nothing about sports. Please try again." I honestly believe in and really like that old saying "Practice What You Preach" Now I know that besides myself, there has to be more out there who would like for him to take his own advice and Seriously STOP Commenting? just saying..

  Peace Out  and Please << Never Forget their Sacrifice >>

Joe R2
Joe R2

"Mr. Dungy, we would like to offer you the Detroit Lions head coaching job"

-Martin Mayhew


"No thanks, but Jim Caldwell would be a great hire."

-Tony Dungy


Lions fans - You can thank Tony Dungy for duping Mayhew into hiring Caldwell.  Irsay was fooled into the same thing and he regretted it 2 years later.  Good luck Detroit!


JonnyS
JonnyS

If I'm a Lions fan, I'm certainly not feeling the least bit excited about this hire. At all. No siree Bob.

x72
x72

Obviously The Vikings have the better hire.

axmickl
axmickl

Are you kidding me? Doesn't anybody in Detroit's front office pay attention to football and its actors? Jim Caldwell is like a deer in the headlights. He is never sure if he should crap or go blind. They will disintegrate even further now that they have followed their old habit of bringing in boys to do a mans job.  

footballdad
footballdad

Wow.  Reading these posts is very entertaining.  Not very enlightening (save for a few), but entertaining.  Whenever someone actually says something that makes sense or is thought provoking, the response is either to make fun of the writer (fully expecting some to come my way), joking about their age, or just writing non-sensical sarcasm.  Why not a reasoned discussion?  No one actually knows how Caldwell will do.  In a few years some of us will be right and some wrong because we happened to guess at the correct outcome. Caldwell actually may end up being just what the Lions needed and there have been many coaches in the NFL over the years who did not have great records prior to doing well at another stop.


Contrary to what has been written Caldwell was widely credited with being a big part of the turn around in Baltimore in 2012 if you bothered to pay attention (and yes, I know the defense was the key).  And really, to think that pictures of how a coach looks on the sidelines during the game is a way to know how good he is--very scientific!  Put me on the side of good hire--the statistical cherry picking and type of guy he is makes him a better choice than Wisenhunt.


And finally--taking pot shots at Dungy--keep the brilliance coming!

RichardCHamilton
RichardCHamilton

Was Dungy recommending Caldwell on the basis of his color? Just wondering. Dungy is very personable and I enjoy listening to him on ESPN and other shows. But is he a Hall of Fame coach? Political correctness goes a long way in the once great NFL. Just as Rooney over at Pittsburgh. 

DennyCrane
DennyCrane

No doubt a product of his impressive coaching during his year of adversity of with the Colts.

When Caldwell bombs in Detroit can we then put an end to this tiresome Dungy. He's not a "great coach". His TB team won an SB after he left (because he couldn't motivate Sap et al - took chuckie to do that). He coached what was allegedly a team of the decade but he managed only one SB from the team. Peyton's ejection from the Colts organization and Irsay's comments were as much about the coaching as it was about the player. He has one SB and he's up for the Hall of Fame. Wow, just wow.

Matthew W
Matthew W

26-63 as the head coach at Wake Forest

2-14 at Indy WITHOUT Peyton


8-8 as a coordinator with Baltimore this past season



Really? That's the best Detroit can do? Good luck!

Scramble
Scramble

He's not much of an offensive coordinator. After Flacco's salary cleaned house you saw just how good Caldwell and Flacco really were.

Joe R2
Joe R2

"Hmmmm....  Nashville or Detroit?  That's a no-brainer...."


-Ken Wisenhunt

Joe R2
Joe R2

This should keep the Lions streak of awesomeness intact...

PurpleCity52
PurpleCity52

I don't care who's the HC if Stafford keeps turning the ball over late in the season , late in games when it's on the line they won't have much success. I think Caldwell is too laid back of a coach to deal with the problems Detroit has.

George
George

Wow.   I have nothing against Caldwell at all ...


but to me this shows just how slim the pickings are when it comes to NFL head-coaching candidates.


You go thru all the pain hassle of firing a head coach ...

for Caldwell, Detroit?   That's the BEST you can do?   REALLY?


:D


Good luck, lions fans - you'll probably need it.

Michael39
Michael39

Titans and Lions took failed head coaches.  Baffling.  Whisenhunt just rode the resurgence of Warner to glory and then his abilities at HC were made clear.  Caldwell won with Dungy's team and Manning at QB.  Neither is good enough to be a head coach in the NFL.


Caldwell's hiring reminds me of Al Gore picking Leiberman for VP.  Picking the opposite for the sake of picking the opposite doesn't ever work out.  Schwartz was a terrible fit and his lack of control was a big part of the problem, but there are a LOT of coaches with more self-control than Schwartz and more talent than Caldwell.

JizzMasterZero
JizzMasterZero

It was either Caldwell or a dead cat.  Ford did not like the dead cat's plans for rehabbing Matt Stafford.  Still, it was a tough choice.

HarshRealities
HarshRealities

No one will know whether or not this was a good hire until next season is almost done.

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

Assuming Peyton Manning wins Super Bowl and MVP this year as programmed


he can retire and go work for Jim Caldwell in Detroit as Offensive Coordinator


(a job he does now in Denver)


Giving John Elway the chance to BRING BACK TEBOW ...number 15 !!!!

x72
x72

Didn't he recently win just one game in that season with the Colts?

John4
John4

@axmickl Ax - I have to agree.  Caldwell did nothing in Baltimore.  He took a winning Colts team and (yes, they lost Manning) took it downhill.  The Ravens offense?  It's one of the worst in the NFL.  

Is there any way in the world that Jim Caldwell will IMPROVE the Lions?  No there is not.  Contrast that with the DC of the Seahawks.  Is there any way in the world that Quinn, the DC does NOT IMPROVE the Lions?  No, there is not.  

(Don't bother with any racist accusations, either.  Jim Caldwell is slightly below average no matter how you slice it.  Why hire him?)  

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@footballdad 

Your one and only post, out of nowhere, and nothing else:  with a passive-aggressive condemnation of everyone who doesn't like Caldwell.

You're absolutely right -- a coach's sideline appearance is meaningless.  Players draw just as much strength and inspiration from someone who looks lost and scared like Caldwell.

Are you on Caldwell's P.R. team?

axmickl
axmickl

@RichardCHamilton If you ever watch Dungy in action you won't have to ask if color was a motivating factor in anything he does. Ask the people of Tampa Bay and they will tell you Dungy was the most racist coach anybody ever knew. He only speaks up for or promotes blacks or black issues. He was the single biggest reason Michael Vick was returned to the NFL.

axmickl
axmickl

@DennyCrane Dungy's coaching style and poor judgement cost Tampa at least one, maybe two trips to the super bowl.

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@Matthew WIf  you were old enough at the time you were likely yelling about the Patriots hiring that loser Belichick guy.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@Michael39 Caldwell's been to as many SB's as Andy Reid.  Is Reid a failed head coach too?

John4
John4

@HarshRealities You can look at his "body of work" during his coaching career and have a VERY good idea.  

George
George

@rentistoohigh Adam Gase is Denver's OC, and Peyton loves him.   

Gase picks / sends in ALL the plays, and Peyton uses his experience and option to change / check off at the line of scrimmage.


Peyton is NOT the OC, and he would tell you that.   Gase is so good, he will likely be coaching the Browns or another team next year if he feels like it, much like Mike McCoy last year.


Peyton's great, but it's a TEAM game, Jimmy

dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

@x72 Yes, but I think it's fairly obvious to anyone that watched their games, they were throwing the games (probably under the direction of Irsay) to get the #1 overall pick.  Once they had the "suck for Luck" contest won, they started playing hard again and won 2 of their last 3 games.  Caldwell then became the scapegoat for Irsay's devious and cowardly plan to land Luck and kick Manning out of town.

sjlionsfan
sjlionsfan

@x72 The season your talking about was his third season as colts head coach,they won 2 games but also had no Manning and were dumping games to get Andrew Luck, the season before they were 10-6 under Caldwell and his first season they were 14-2 and went to the super bowl

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@x72 not a bad accomplishment with Painter as your QB.  I think they won 2 games BTW.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@John4@axmickl 

You're correct.

Caldwell looked lost and scared on the Indy sideline.  Not quite as clueless and nowhere near as dumb as Mike Tice, but stamped from the same mold.

According to the Caldwell-trolls, that's irrelevant.  I guess players get just as inspired by a coach who looks confused and frightened as they would by a Harbaugh or Bellichek.

MatthewEugeneHaag
MatthewEugeneHaag

@MidwestGolfFan @footballdad Interesting.  You started to insult him with some actual intelligent comments.  Then you went after the appearance (which doesn't matter or Bill Belichick would be the worst coach ever) and then you ended with a snide comment just proving his whole statement.  Congratulations on being part of a statistic.  Keep up the excellent work proving that there is actual intellect to be found on the internet.

davetheG
davetheG

@PhillyPenn@Michael39 Well, who isnt a "failed head coach" If the coach is winning and successful he will be working and not fired. People were not liking Andy Reid at the end of his tenure, Kubiak at the end of his, Noll at the end with the Steelers, Lets not forget Jeff Fisher with Titans.  The coaches looking for work usually do not have a job. There are reasons teams blow, Cardinals bad ownership, Cowboys owner thinks he is a GM, Some teams have bad GM's like detroit for years.

TerrapinStation87
TerrapinStation87

@PhillyPenn @Michael39  Andy Reid led the Eagles to four NFC Championship games along with that Superbowl, proving no one was "carrying" him. Caldwell took one ride- one- with Peyton Manning. Your analogy is a poor one.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@dwb_alpha@x72 

In which case he's a darn fool and shouldn't be trusted again.

It's called "integrity," one of those buzzwords football coaches rant about all the time in locker rooms.  If you're right, apparently it only applies to players doing as they're told -- not to the coaches doing the ranting.

DennyCrane
DennyCrane

@sjlionsfan@x72If they were "dumping games" then why did Irsay show Caldwell the door and mail the contents of his desk to him. Some loyalty on the part of the owner eh? Dump the games and then I dump you. Far more likely Irsay was less than thrilled with Caldwell's accomplishments that year, realized he had a caretaker coach, and sent him packing.

Michael39
Michael39

@sjlionsfan @x72 


They were not throwing games.  If Caldwell was willing to participate in throwing games, no team would have hired him for their concession stand, let alone a coaching position.


They were 14-2 when they could have gone undefeated and Caldwell pulling the starters is widely believed to have demoralized the team and may have cost them a Super Bowl.  They were worse the next year.  They were the worst in the NFL the next year.  That is NOT a good track record.

Pierre1
Pierre1

@PhillyPenn @x72 He was swept by Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars. Yeah. Not a bad accomplishment.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@PhillyPenn@x72  

Actually, it was even weaker than the 2 wins on the face of it.

It was far from "not a bad accomplishment," as Caldwell seemed lost and everyone was speculating whether they'd win zero.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@MatthewEugeneHaag@MidwestGolfFan@footballdad  

You're another sourpuss not worthy of attention.

Belichick may look grouchy, but he always looks confident and in-control.  Caldwell didn't.  Apparently, you know nothing about leadership.  A leader who looks scared and clueless -- like Caldwell -- is worse than useless -- he's a liability.    

Clearly, you're part of Caldwell's PR team, too.


PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@TerrapinStation87 I couldn't disagree with you more.  If you look at Andy's record in NFC Champ./SB games he is 1-6.  While it takes a lot to even get to that point, he failed more often than not when it really counted.  BTW, you could also say that Andy Reid was on the Donovan McNabb express all those years too.  

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@Pierre1@PhillyPenn@x72  

That shouldn't count!  As his peeps keep telling us, we all know poor Caldwell didn't have Manning.  And how can a coaching genius like Caldwell win more than 2 games without a superstar?