Solid first day for Jim Caldwell
DETROIT — Jim Caldwell didn’t seem overwhelmed or underprepared. He wasn’t demur, expressionless or devoid of humor.
He was everything and anything but. He was confident, not overly concerned with the Lions’ bumbling past but focused on the now and his destiny to live in it.
"Do you believe in providence?" he asked. "This was the best job, the best fit for me."
On the surface, the new Detroit Lions coach didn’t seem to be anything we thought he was. If first impressions count for anything, Caldwell might be a classic case of a book being judged by its cover.
He quoted the bible, Fielding Yost and John Wooden, and said things like:
"I’m here to win a championship … We’re on the threshold of great things … The time is now … We’re right here, right now."
Which we can only hope doesn’t become the "bar is high" of his coaching tenure in Detroit.
One press conference doesn’t erase 57 years of skepticism. Ultimately, Caldwell will not be judged by what he says or how he says it.
What matters is how often and what he wins, which he knows.
"Anything less than winning a Super Bowl will be a failure," he told me.
That sounds good, and when you hear him say it, you believe it.
When you pair that with Tom Lewand’s declaration that Caldwell was one of two coaching candidates who fit their profile to a tee, you can believe that, too.
You can also wonder if the Lions finally got it right. Who knows?
Bill Belichick was a loser in Cleveland and can’t lose in New England. Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls in Denver and never came close in Washington.
What Caldwell did or didn’t do in previous stops fills out his resume, but can’t be used to completely predicate his success in Detroit.
When asked how patient he would be with his most recent hire, Bill Ford Jr. said, "We’re frustrated. We expect to hit the ground running."
So does Caldwell, who already knows what his team will look like.
"We have to be fast," he said. "And we’re also going to be physical.
"We’re going to be smart. We’re going to be a football team that takes the field and doesn’t shoot itself in the foot."
Oops, there’s his first mistake — taking away the only area the Lions have been consistently proficient for the last 50 plus years.
Sorry, that skepticism is tough to shake.
Whether he was the Lions second choice or last choice is of little consequence now. He’s their choice.
And as he said, "There is a reason why I’m here."
At least the most weary of Lions fans can agree with Caldwell when he says, "The time is now."
Only time will tell.