12th Man Report: Caldwell; right or wrong?
The one thing we know about new Lions’ head coach Jim Caldwell is that he’s not former Chargers offensive coordinator and now Tennessee Titans’ head coach Ken Whisenhunt — obviously. While fans seemed disappointed (and a bit angry) that the Lions seemed to settle for Caldwell so quickly after Whisenhunt disappeared, the hiring isn’t as bad as it seems…or is it?
Caldwell appears to be almost the polar opposite of Jim Schwartz: He has experience as a head coach (Schwartz had only been a coordinator), he seems like a calming, fatherly figure versus Schwartz’s fiery nature, and he’s won in the NFL before. He’s everything you’d want in a head coach, but it’s not that simple; it never is.
Here’s a positive for the Caldwell hiring: The man has coached in a Super Bowl as a head coach — not too many candidates out there with that on their resume. As an assistant under Tony Dungy in Indianapolis, he was also instrumental in the development of Peyton Manning, which showcased his knowledge and ability to coach quarterbacks. The idea’s that Caldwell can impart some of his alleged wealth of QB knowledge on Matt Stafford, who’s been a few plays away from elite for quite some time.
Caldwell also has a reputation for being a straight-laced, no-crap coach. Considering how wild and untamed the Lions were under Jim Schwartz, this was definitely a plus. I guess you could say that Schwartz broke them down and Caldwell has the task of building them back up. If Tony Dungy — who only had good things to say about Caldwell — is any judge, than Caldwell will be just what the doctor ordered for this undisciplined Lions team.
But Caldwell’s impressive resume isn’t all that it seems. His only tenure as a head coach (three years in Indianapolis) is a bit deceiving from afar. Despite his Super Bowl appearance and 24-8 record in his first two seasons with the Colts, those stats are skewed because Peyton Manning was the quarterback. When Manning got hurt a year later, the Colts went 2-14 and Caldwell was fired.
You see; there are two sides to every coin. And questions remain for Caldwell’s arrival to Detroit. Which side will the Lions get? The side that comes with a glowing recommendation from the trusted Dungy and led the Colts to two-consecutive impressive seasons? Or the coach who led an epic collapse without a legitimate quarterback and was ultimately canned for it?