Well the Detroit Lions have officially hired a new head coach and that new head coach is Jim Caldwell.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first to report the news:
Detroit Lions are hiring Jim Caldwell as their head coach, per a league source.—
Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 14, 2014
Then Lions senior writer and insider Tim Twentyman confirmed the news:
Lions have officially hired Jim Caldwell to be their next head coach.—
Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) January 14, 2014
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, gave a little more insight:
Lions will not announce the Caldwell hiring until contract is fully signed. But he has been offered the job, and is taking it—
Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
I must say, I have mixed feelings on this hire.
When it comes to Caldwell, he’s seems to be a good leader and overall good man. He is about structure and discipline which is something the Lions want and need. Basically meaning he will stand tall and demand the respect of his players and he won’t allow costly actions on the field or off the field.
When it comes to his coaching background, he has coached quarterbacks and receivers, and he typically runs a pass-first offense, so there is no reason to think he couldn’t continue making the Lions a high-scoring offense. He has had success developing talent at times during career. He did a solid work as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, leading them to a Superbowl and he recently help to lead the Ravens to a Superbowl victory in 2013.
My concerns with Caldwell comes with the other side of his track record. While he did have some form of success with the Colts, it doesn’t change the fact he basically took over Tony Dungy’s team which was already Superbowl ready which is one of the reason he was able to help guide the Colts to a 14-2 record in his first season and helped them to a Super Bowl the next season. Now I am not taking anything away from Caldwell’s accomplishments with the Colts, I’m simply saying, I think Dungy built that team and made it what it was, no offense to Caldwell but he basically had a Superbowl ready team.
Plus I don’t like the fact that he didn’t do the best job of succeeding or even competing once Manning went down in 2011, seeing that the Colts finished with 2-14 record that season. Caldwell is credited with keeping the locker room together in Indianapolis when that organization suffered through a 2-14. Now some say Caldwell kept the locker room together in during that time, others say he didn’t do much. I could say the same thing about this past season with the Ravens, seeing that the offense was less than stellar and struggled half of the season to score consistently and run the ball.
I still feel the Lions need a coach who can take Stafford and turn him into a franchise quarterback and so far Caldwell hasn’t done that, most of his success comes when franchise quarterbacks are already in place. They also need a coach who can make sure that the Lions offense stays balance by running the ball and passing the ball consistently. At this point, I’m not sure if Caldwell is the coach who can do that.
With that being said, it will be interesting to see who Caldwell brings in as coordinators, because the coordinators can make up for what he lacks.
Now it has been reported by Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com that Caldwell may bring the Indianapolis Colts QB coach Clyde Christensen as his offensive coordinator. However, Ed Werder of ESPN, reported that Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor is lined up to be Caldwell’s offensive coordinator.
While Albert Breer of NFL Network, reported that Jim Caldwell likely to take Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin with him to Detroit as the defensive coordinator:
As for Caldwell's offensive coordinator, strong buzz that Indy's QB coach Clyde Christensen would be top choice. Worked together with Colts—
Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
Jim Caldwell likely to take Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin with him to Detroit as defensive coordinator.—
Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 14, 2014
If he does indeed hire these coordinators, it could be a step in the right direction for the Lions. When it comes the offensive coordinator position, both Christensen and Lazor are good options. Clyde Christensen, did a good job of mentoring quarterback Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, so there is no doubt in my mind that he could do the same thing with Stafford. Same thing goes for Lazor, who has helped with the success of the Eagles offense and the development of quarterback Nick Foles. So either way it’s a good hire.
When it comes to the defensive coordinator position, I like the idea of bringing in Teryl Austin. He has a solid relationship with Caldwell since he was a graduate assistant at Penn State when Caldwell was an assistant there, he also worked for Caldwell at Wake Forest for three years. Most importantly, he has done solid work with the Ravens as their secondary coach the past three seasons.
Ian Rapport of NFL.com, confirmed that Bill Lazor and Teryl Austin are possible targets for the Lions but he also reported that Ron Prince could be hire as the Lions assistant head coach and offensive line coach:
When it comes to Prince, he is currently the offensive coordinator at Rutgers. He has NFL experience, seeing that he previously spent time with the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars, as an assistant coach with the offensive line.
Remember that these coaches are only candidates for the time being, the Detroit Lions have yet to confirm who they will be hiring as their offensive and defensive coordinator but I assume official decisions and announcements will be made soon.
Despite my mixed feeling about Caldwell being hired, I would like to reiterate that I am not saying this is a bad hire. I’m simply saying time will tell on whether this turns out to be a great hire. Caldwell has shown the ability to change the culture of three football teams all while winning games and earning the respect of his players. He could very well do the same thing for the Lions and I honestly feel the coordinators that Caldwell chooses to hire will help to determine the success of the Lions while Caldwell is coach but again I must say, only time will tell.
Remember what I said before, the Lions next head coach has to be the right coach because that coach could possibly destroy what Schwartz built or they could take what Schwartz has built to the next level. The Lions have acquired a Jim Caldwell to take the Lions to next level, let’s see what he does.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley