Does it really matter, Caldwell or Whisenhunt?
Now that the Lions have hired Jim Caldwell as their new head coach, let’s compare him to their apparent No. 1 coaching candidate, Ken Whisenhunt, who opted to go to Tennessee instead.
Caldwell and Whisenhunt are cut from the same cloth; they’re coaching brothers with different mothers.
They’re both considered offensive sages who have a special way to relate to quarterbacks.
Each of them has head-coaching experience in the NFL, leading their teams to the Super Bowl only to lose the game.
Ironically, they were the losing Super Bowl coaches in back-to-back years — Whisenhunt in 2009 and Caldwell in 2010.
As far as their career head-coaching records, Caldwell is 26-22 in the regular season and 2-2 in playoffs. Whisenhunt has a 45-51 regular-season record, but he’s 4-2 in the playoffs.
Perhaps the only significant difference between the two is that Caldwell adopted a loaded Indianapolis Colts team, while Whisenhunt took over an Arizona Cardinals team that had struggled to win consistently.
In reality, though, they both flamed out rather quickly in their last head-coaching jobs, but in Caldwell’s case, Peyton Manning’s injury was a major factor in the Colts going from 10-6 to 2-14 in one season.
Although the Lions’ brass thinks that Caldwell’s main job is to change Detroit’s losing culture, which could be near impossible, there are two other things Caldwell must accomplish to give himself any chance:
— Exorcize the turnover demons residing in Matthew Stafford’s head, which should allow him to get back on the path to greatness.
— And establish an on-the-field discipline that will stop the Lions from being their own worst enemy.
If Caldwell can calm down Stafford and his teammates, the Lions might finally get to the next level.
But we’re stuck in Lions Land, where nothing ever goes as planned and trying to make sense out of what’s happening is a mind-numbing experience.
Really, does the coach matter at all in Detroit, where it always seems to come down to having blind faith in the organization, specifically the Ford family, whose track record is abysmal?
Only time will tell if they finally made the right call with Caldwell.