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Jim Caldwell to return next year

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http://www.freep.com/story/sports/nfl/lions/2017/01/04/jim-caldwell-job-status/96145948/

 

 

 

After leading the Detroit Lions to the playoffs two times in the last three years, Jim Caldwell will return for a fourth season as head coach.

ESPN reported this morning, citing a team official, that Caldwell's job is not in jeopardy once the season ends.

Neither Lions general manager Bob Quinn nor team president Rod Wood returned text messages this morning seeking comment, and Quinn said last week that he didn't plan to talk with reporters about the subject until after the season.

The Lions play the Seattle Seahawks in a wildcard playoff game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

Related:

Caldwell's future had been the subject of constant speculation as the Lions stumbled to three straight losses to end the regular season and failed to win their first division title in 23 years despite leading the NFC North by two games with three to play.

Caldwell is entering the final season of a contract he signed in 2014, when Martin Mayhew and Tom Lewand ran the organization, and the new Lions brass of Quinn and Wood had not backed him publicly for next fall despite repeated questions.

With a 27-21 record, Caldwell's .563 winning percentage is the best among full-time Lions coaches in the Super Bowl era. Only Gary Moeller, who went 4-3 as interim Lions head coach in 2000, has a better winning percentage than Caldwell.

Asked several questions about his job security at his news conference Tuesday, Caldwell declined to say what assurances if any he'd been given about his future.

"You know what, it’s not about me," Caldwell said. "I’m more interested in this team and that focus. In our business, our business is always skepticism and those kinds of things. It’s a challenging business. That’s what makes it fun. It’s not for the faint of heart. You better be willing to take on challenges and understand that you’re expected to win.”

Related:

Caldwell used a golf analogy to make a case for why he should return for a fourth season despite the Lions' late-season struggles. The team finished 9-7 after after starting 9-4.

In 2014, the Lions went 11-5 and made the playoffs in Caldwell's first season as coach, and last year they rebounded from a 1-7 start to finish 7-9.

“Some of you guys probably play a little golf from time to time and it’s kind of like a golf game," Caldwell said. "You’ve got a 494-yard Par 4 and you hit it off the tee, some guys hit it right down the middle and then maybe hit a three wood to the green or a five wood in some cases. Some guys are like me, they hit it in the woods and they might have to hit it between two trees in order to get it on the green. But the fact of the matter is we’re still on in two. We’re on in regulation, everybody’s putting for birdie and that’s kind of what making the (playoffs) is, right? ... Everybody’s still got a chance, no matter how you got here.”

Caldwell has been a favorite among players during his time in Detroit, and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford called Caldwell "an honest. guy, an up-front guy" on Tuesday.

"I think he’s a heck of a coach," Stafford said. "I enjoy playing for him. Those decisions (to bring him back or not) aren’t made by me, but I’m sure it’s something you guys love bringing up all the time."

Contact Dave Birkett: dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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Congratulations to your 2017 NFC North Champions the Green Bay Packers.  

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Mike Valenti has his show already taped and edited for the next two weeks.

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I know some people will be up in arms over this but I don't think he did anything to deserve be fired.  The players seem to like him, there hasn't been any evidence of them quitting on him, they're not making stupid penalties and they are showing discipline on and off the field.    He won 11 games when he was handed a team with a decent talent level so I'm anxious to see what he can do if we can give him better players. 

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As long as Quinn doesn't extend Caldwell's contract between now and the end of next season, I can begrudgingly live with this.

Does Caldwell stick around if the Lions don't back into the playoffs?  We'll never know...

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I know that some of you will hate this and I'm certainly no Caldwell fan but he took a team with minimal talent and some key injuries to the brink of winning the division.  Granted, the team is likely worse than the record indicates but they don't judge on what could have been so I think it's fair to give him another season with hopefully a better roster as Quinn cuts some of the dead weight and brings in his own players.

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I thought caldwell did a decent job this year.  No reason to fire him.

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Caldwell has the best winning percentage of any coach for the Lions in the super bowl era 27-21 .563. Let that sink in for a moment....

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Is it that surprising?  That is a 9-7 average.  Most coaches don't get fired unless they have multiple bad seasons.  I suspect the vast majority of fired coaches have a worse winning percentage than that for the team that fired them.

Basically all that stat says is there hasn't been a successful Lions coach in the Super Bowl era, which we already knew.

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33 minutes ago, Buddha said:

I thought caldwell did a decent job this year.  No reason to fire him.

Here is my take.

Guys who want him fired now wanted him fired before the season.There really isn't much cause to fire him based on this season.  The Lions over-performed their talent this season.

 

So, for me, if someone was ok with him coaching this season for whatever reason, they really ought to be ok with him continuing to coach because:

a. I don't think anything happened this year to demonstrate anything about his coaching that wasn't already known, and

b. performance really wasn't an issue given the roster.

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2 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Is it that surprising?  That is a 9-7 average.  Most coaches don't get fired unless they have multiple bad seasons.  I suspect the vast majority of fired coaches have a worse winning percentage than that for the team that fired them.

Basically all that stat says is there hasn't been a successful Lions coach in the Super Bowl era, which we already knew.

Wayne Fontes was better than his record. 

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13 minutes ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Here is my take.

Guys who want him fired now wanted him fired before the season.There really isn't much cause to fire him based on this season.  The Lions over-performed their talent this season.

 

So, for me, if someone was ok with him coaching this season for whatever reason, they really ought to be ok with him continuing to coach because:

a. I don't think anything happened this year to demonstrate anything about his coaching that wasn't already known, and

b. performance really wasn't an issue given the roster.

I agree that nothing that happened this season should really change your opinion on Caldwell. 

From the GM standpoint, he should decide on Caldwell based simply on how well he expects him to perform in the coming season. This season and past seasons can help inform that decision. He doesn't have to have done anything to deserve to be fired and it could still be the right decision to go another direction. 

But I think there is something to be said for consistency and familiarity with the team. If you don't have someone in mind that you think would be a clear upgrade, then you might as well just keep the guy you have. NFL coaches are so hard to project, so status quo is fine. 

Overall, I think this decision is fine. No reason to fire him but no reason to keep him either. Whatever. 

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I was speaking more from the fan perspective, but yes, the decision should be based on who you think will do the best job next year.

The other thing I would add is Martha reportedly loves Caldwell as a coach.

Politically, Quinn bears a huge risk firing Jim, especially if Quinn thinks the team will likely do worse next year based on the expected roster, even with a better coach.

For anyone who wanted Caldwell gone before this season, this season played out as poorly as they could hope WRT Jim getting fired.  Team over-performs and has a lot of things fall their way that make them look a lot better than they actually are.  A new coach is not likely to outperform 9-7 next year unless they draft really well and/or Matt takes yet another step forward.

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Martha doesn't want to pay two coaches

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Maybe not 'only in Detroit', but certainly 'only in a city that is delusional' do they talk about firing a coach that made the playoffs with a train wreck of a franchise 2 out of 3 years.  It is not like we have NE teams or a great roster that 'anyone' could take to the playoffs.

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Congratulations to your 2017 NFC North Champions the Green Bay Packers.  

Impossible to say. If Abdullah and/or Riddick had not been injured for much/most of the season, it's certainly plausible that the Lions could have gone into last Sunday with the division already sewn up. And people were calling for Mike McCarthy's head halfway through the season.

Each season is different. Caldwell has at least shown that he can keep a locker room together, and that he can coach his players not to beat themselves. Not a lot of Lions coaches previously could say that.

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6 minutes ago, Jason_R said:

Impossible to say. If Abdullah and/or Riddick had not been injured for much/most of the season, it's certainly plausible that the Lions could have gone into last Sunday with the division already sewn up. And people were calling for Mike McCarthy's head halfway through the season.

Each season is different. Caldwell has at least shown that he can keep a locker room together, and that he can coach his players not to beat themselves. Not a lot of Lions coaches previously could say that.

Yup, the lack of a run game was once again crushing. Like I mentioned before too, our 4 highest rated players got injured down the stretch. 

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It should be noted that Ziggy Ansah had 2 sacks and Levy played a quarter of a season. Would it be fair to call those 2, Abdullah and Riddick 4 or our 6 or 7 most impactful players?

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2 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

Not sure of your point.

His record does not represent how good of a coach he was during his tenure. 

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31 minutes ago, Nastradamus said:

It should be noted that Ziggy Ansah had 2 sacks and Levy played a quarter of a season. Would it be fair to call those 2, Abdullah and Riddick 4 or our 6 or 7 most impactful players?

I think Levy is done as an impact player. 

I think they really missed Riddick though not only as a runner but as a safety outlet for Stafford.  For instance, two of his INT's against the Cowboys were due to him scrambling around for a good 5 seconds and not being able to find an open receiver.  Having Riddick available could have made a difference there.  Stafford's finger seemed to be affecting him too the last few weeks, he was airmailing balls left and right and I know that he was playing against better teams but some of those poor throws were made with minimal pressure on him.

Regardless, I think most of us can agree that the talent is lacking especially on defense.

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It should be noted that Ziggy Ansah had 2 sacks and Levy played a quarter of a season. Would it be fair to call those 2, Abdullah and Riddick 4 or our 6 or 7 most impactful players?

Yes. And this team is not yet the Patriots where next man up has the talent and coaching to make plays.

As frustrating as it is that the team did not win the division, I think every one of us prior to the season would have been ecstatic about the idea of a 9-7 finish and a playoff berth. More so if we had known about the injuries. Quinn and Caldwell did their jobs. No magic bullets or symbolic reinventions. Just a few better players, better discipline, better execution.

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3 hours ago, Euphdude said:

As long as Quinn doesn't extend Caldwell's contract between now and the end of next season, I can begrudgingly live with this.

Does Caldwell stick around if the Lions don't back into the playoffs?  We'll never know...

They didn't back into the playoffs.  They weren't favored in any of the last 3 games and Stafford broke his finger. 

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