The Detroit Lions decided to keep Jim Caldwell as head coach last week. Although the front office is going through an overhaul, Caldwell’s 18-14 record through two seasons with the team was enough to save his job for at least one more season.
During an interview with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on Sirius XM NFL radio on Wednesday night, Lions general manager Bob Quinn opened up about the process that led to the decision to retain Caldwell. He said the two met multiple times for a total of 12 hours.
I came in with no preconceived notions. I didn’t know coach Caldwell personally. I didn’t know him professionally. I did my research on him through my sources in the league and got great feedback from everyone that I spoke to.
I went into (the interview process) with an open mind. We had a series of meetings. It wasn’t just one day or one hour. It was over a couple of days and a dozen hours. Really, get to know you sessions. My philosophy and his philosophy meshed. So we could build this team.
Caldwell led the Lions to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance in his first season with the Lions, but the first half of the following season was a complete disaster. After falling to 1-7, however, Caldwell guided his team to six wins in the second half of the season and finished 7-9. He has not lost the support of his players, due to early success and the way Detroit battled back late in 2015.
Caldwell will be under the microscope in 2016. If his team is virtually eliminated from playoff contention by Week 9 again, Quinn’s first major decision as general manager will be touted as a major mistake.