Caldwell flip-flopped on decision to fire coaches in matter of hours

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell had to make a tough decision on Monday.
Tim Fuller/Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions’ 1-6 record is the NFL’s worst right now, but apparently it wasn’t bad enough to make any drastic changes Monday morning. An early report from Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman said head coach Jim Caldwell had no plans to alter his coaching staff in any way.

Then, three hours later, news broke about the Lions firing offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, as well as offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan. Twentyman reported their respective replacements right after that.

With a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs in London this coming Sunday, Caldwell attributed the sudden change of heart to a lack of time, per Twentyman.

Detroit’s performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7 must have been the final straw. Quarterback Matthew Stafford saw his pass protection completely break down in the 28-19 loss, as the Lions allowed seven sacks. That’s why the team’s offensive line coaches got the ax.

The Lions’ offense had been awful under Lombardi this season. Detroit is currently the NFL’s worst rushing team with an average of 68 yards on the ground per game. The team also ranks 29th in scoring offense with 19.9 points per game. Opposing defenders have even been able to recognize Lombardi’s plays before the ball is snapped.

The man taking over Lombardi’s offensive coordinator role and play-calling duties, Jim Bob Cooter, comes highly praised. He has worked extensively with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and the Lions blocked Chicago Bears head coach John Fox from bringing him in for their offensive coordinator position earlier this year.

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