It’s done, let’s move on. The Detroit Lions finally hired their next head coach, replacing Jim Schwartz after a prompt firing following yet another disappointing season. The new head coach, former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, will hopefully be a solid fit for the Lions.
Caldwell started out with a pass-heavy, air it out offense as the head coach of Wake Forest. He eventually landed in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he started out as a quarterback coach with Brad Johnson. Soon after that, Caldwell found himself coaching the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning — first as a quarterback coach and then as a head coach.
After Peyton left, he went on to work as an offensive coordinator with the Ravens and helped them win the Super Bowl. Now, as the Lions move forward, it will be interesting to see how well his great experience with top-notch quarterbacks and successful offense translates to the team. Especially interesting will be his relationship with Matthew Stafford.
Jim Caldwell was the first interview the Lions took after firing Schwartz, and he met with Stafford to go over some of his ideas for the future of the team and how to make the quarterback a better player. This sparked some controversy on a couple levels. First, the explosive argument of whether or not Stafford should be involved at this point ignited throughout Lions fans with people heavily supporting both sides of the concept.
Stafford also seemed to show some reluctance to work with a quarterback guru. So working with a guy who worked with Manning and Joe Flacco — who very early on expressed interest in possibly changing Stafford’s approach — might create an issue.
Well, maybe it’s good if it does. Caldwell worked with the best. What’s Stafford going to say? “Look Coach, I’m not Peyton Manning, so can I just go back to my ways?” Caldwell can swiftly respond with, “that’s right, you’re not Peyton Manning, but wouldn’t it be nice to be a winner like Peyton Manning or Joe Flacco?”
With Caldwell’s air it out style, the Ravens were able to take advantage of receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith as he got Flacco to throw the deep ball. The Ravens got to the playoffs because of their defense, but it was their offense that took them the whole way to the trophy. It’s that kind of winning offense and winning experience that Caldwell will bring to the Lions.
We’ll see if he can turn around the discipline issues on the team which is hard to predict when bringing in a coach. Caldwell doesn’t have the best record in the world and there’s no doubt his career has been up and down, but his specific experience should help the Lions move forward.
Look, I’m trying to positive about this hire. I’m not putting all my chips on the table backing Caldwell and the Lions, but I think he’s the right kind of coach for the team’s offense. Whether he’s the best coach for the entire team remains to be seen.