Jim Caldwell is the next to go. The Detroit Lions will be removing him as head coach, per a statement from the team’s Twitter account. Caldwell was 36-28 in four years with the team.
The Lions made the playoffs twice under Caldwell’s leadership and were never downright horrible when they didn’t. Seasons of 11-5, 7-9, 9-7 and 9-7 are usually enough to keep your job as head coach.
However, it was common to see sloppiness from the team, and despite Caldwell’s background as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, the unit never gained stability until Jim Bob Cooter was hired as OC. Even then, the rushing attack is among the worst in football. The defense has been much of the same, marred by inconsistency and mistakes.
More than anything, though, the Lions have been stuck behind the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North for a while now, and they were never able to take the next step behind Caldwell. There’s a large amount of talent in Detroit that can be built upon, so general manager Bob Quinn will certainly be looking for someone to come in and be successful right away.
Already, the team is setting up interviews for the job, and the focus appears to be on the defense. Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel will be a candidate, as will New England Patriots DC Matt Patricia and Carolina Panthers DC Steve Wilks. It’s fair to speculate that Cooter could be retained as OC if he doesn’t get hired elsewhere.
In any case, the Lions felt that missing the playoffs was the final straw for Caldwell. Maybe they can finally take that huge leap forward under new management.