Seidel: Detroit Lions do right thing and bring back Jim Caldwell
The Detroit Lions are doing the right thing by bringing back coach Jim Caldwell.
Shoot, even the timing of this seems right, ending any doubt before the Lions play Seattle in a wild-card game Saturday (8:15 p.m, NBC).
ESPN, citing a source, reported this morning that the Lions will bring back Caldwell for next season.
Which makes perfect sense to me.
Under Caldwell, this team has overachieved and is in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
Personally, I think he should get an extension, if only to help lure free agents, as I wrote a few weeks ago.
But Caldwell made it clear at a news conference Tuesday that he would be fine coaching under a one-year deal.
“Since 1978, when I first started coaching, we coached on one-year contracts back in those days,” Caldwell said. “Nothing was ever promised to you. I’ve always been in that mode.”
Clearly, Caldwell is a player favorite.
“I think he’s a heck of a coach,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “I enjoy playing for him. Those decisions aren’t made by me, but I’m sure it’s something you guys love bringing up all the time.”
When Stafford was asked what Caldwell is like behind the scenes, he playfully danced around the subject.
“I think everybody in our locker room enjoys playing for him,” Stafford said. “He’s an honest guy, an upfront guy. As far as how he is, that’s kind of one of the fun parts of being a part of this team is I get to know that and you guys don’t. Probably going to keep it that way.”
Undoubtedly, some fans will be upset by this news. But I don’t get it. I know that the Lions have lost three straight games. To three tough teams.
This wasn't a collapse. It was a dose of reality about how far this team still has to go.
This team is in the playoffs without a Pro Bowl player. Caldwell is coaching a team that doesn’t have a running game. It has a young, beaten-up offensive line. Stafford has a messed-up finger. The defense can’t mount a pass rush and isn’t very good at creating turnovers.
Somehow, out of all of that, Caldwell got this team into the playoffs. It wouldn’t make any sense to change coaches now.
My gut says that Caldwell and general manager Bob Quinn are on the same page. My gut says they have formed a strong working relationship.
“We talk every single day, like 50 times a day,” Caldwell said. “We talk about one thing and one thing only, and that’s trying to get ourselves in position to win that particular week, and that’s what we do constantly. Trying to improve the roster, get us in great shape, those kinds of things.”
And now, that can be the focus. Getting better. Because this team still has a ton of flaws.
And despite those flaws, Caldwell has proved that he can make the playoffs.
It's exciting to think of what might happen if they get some more talent.
Contact Jeff Seidel: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.