It didn't take the Lions long after Ken Whisenhunt turned down an offer to hop on a plane to find a head coach to replace the fired Jim Schwartz. It's Jim again, but not the same Jim. It's Jim Caldwell. Caldwell has a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens (he took over their offense midseason in 2012) and he's been to another as head coach of the Colts in 2009, but there's plenty of arguments against him. Take most of it from ESPN's Bill Barnwell (link here):
Caldwell is a better candidate in some ways, but his career seems to offer little suggestion that he’s a viable head coach.
Caldwell has received glowing endorsements from former Colts colleagues Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, but he was their handpicked choice to take over for Dungy in 2009, and while the Colts went 14-2 and made it to the Super Bowl during his first year at the helm, things fell apart quickly. Caldwell was a horrific in-game coach, infamously taking a timeout in the following year’s playoff loss to the Jets that beggared belief. The next year, with Manning injured, the Colts fell to 2-14 behind a dismal season from Curtis Painter, leading to Caldwell’s firing after the season. He took over as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season and helped lead it to a shocking Super Bowl victory, with the offense — notably, Joe Flacco — taking a huge step forward in the process.
In his first full year at the helm for the Ravens, Caldwell’s offense fell apart; the Ravens were 25th in points scored, 30th in DVOA, and nearly became one of the few teams since the merger to average fewer than 3.0 yards per carry. Flacco, who had put together an astounding 11-touchdown, zero-interception Super Bowl run, threw 22 interceptions in his worst season as a pro. The basis for hiring Caldwell comes down to his two seasons as a head coach with the greatest quarterback in the history of football under center. In a way, he’s not that much different from Whisenhunt, who looked great with Warner and exhibited little else without him. Sure seems like the path to a great head coach travels through finding a great quarterback first.
Matthew Stafford's great, right? Well, I guess we'll find out, if that's the logic. Of course, while none of this changes the 2014 Super Bowl Odds at Topbet Sportsbook, Tony Dungy is already on Twitter record as saying the Lions will make the playoffs in 2014.
While we mull over how we like the idea of Jim Caldwell as Lions head coach – I have one friend who has already told me he'd rather have Jim Schwartz still be the coach – Caldwell is mulling over his staff. Who he decides to join him in Detroit will obviously be very important to his success, and success must come fast.