A good move, or another wasted year?
It is now 2017, and this is the year for change…said 95 percent of the people who realized 2016 just “wasn’t their year,” including the Detroit Lions, who announced earlier today, that they would be bringing Head Coach Jim Caldwell back for his FOURTH season. Let’s be real, if they failed to make a change last year, the year before that, or maybe a full decade ago, what makes this year so special?
To know me, is to know that I could care less about the product the Lions put on the field come Sunday afternoons, or what goes on between upper management behind closed doors, but being a lover of football and from the state of Michigan, it’s difficult not to peek at what they have going on from time to time. Now let me be clear in saying this is not a post to bash the Lions (although it’s well deserved after the move they just pulled) but a post to find the answers from you, the readers who are supporters of the Lions.
I pulled Caldwell's resume, and here’s what I got, he’s 27-21 in terms of wins and losses with potentially four games left to play (don’t THINK that they’ll make it to Houston for the Super Bowl, just saying) starting with the “12th Man” in Seattle. Enough said. His past accolades can’t save him from what’s left to be destroyed.
So here we have a 61 year old Caldwell who holds a .552 winning percentage in his three years in Detroit. On top of that, it’s only inevitable that you ask yourself, what exactly did Caldwell bring to the Lions since his arrival? Let’s start with the draft picks, I understand every teams gets few steals here and there, or find help outside of the draft but given three years at least one of the team’s first-rounders should be well flourished right? Here it is 2017, and I’m still waiting for former NC standout TE Eric Ebron to show up big. 2015 the Lions went with help on the line to benefit Stafford by selecting guard Laken Tomlinson who’s been in and out of games due to injuries but ultimately serving as a backup to the rookie Graham Glasgow. Last, there was Taylor Decker, who since being drafted in 2016, has sustained the starting role on the offensive line since camp.
Moving from his draft pick selections in year’s pasts, what about his coaching, or lack thereof. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t typically watch the Lions, but in between commercials I might check them out and when I do it’s just boring. SO conservative and maybe he’s not all to blame, maybe it’s a split between him and Jim Bob Cooter. I mean honestly, I haven’t watch an offense so predictable and conservative sine the Lloyd Carr days back at Michigan.
From what I’ve seen, and maybe I’m wrong because I don’t watch the Lions as closely as I do my Steelers, but there’s just zero game day aggressiveness, no swagger, simply no attempt to be different. I can’t be mad at the 61 year old ball coach because he’s set in his ways and knows or thinks he knows what works best, but you have to point the blame towards Bob Quinn. I honestly find it hard to believe the Bob Quinn goes to sleep happily saying “yea, Coach Caldwell, that’s my guy.” I just don’t think that’s who he truly wants to be in charge of the team’s success.
If I were a fan, I’d send Quinn a lengthy letter saying hey, raise your standards, shoot for the stars, and get someone on the field who’s really going to make a splash, be different, and turn this comedy show around. Again, my purpose isn’t to bash the Lions, I’m just dying to know what the plan is, what’s the philosophy and blueprint of this team’s success moving forward?
As a fan, I’m looking at the playoff picture and scratching my head at the Lions. How are you standing firm at the top of your division, then do a major setback and drop the final three detrimental games of the season? “Well our ending three game stretch was against tough opponents who were playing well down the stretch.” HELLO, you all are a playoff team (essentially), everyone is going to be playing well late in the season especially in the playoff, so that alone tells me there’s an L waiting at CenturyLink Field. Luckily the Lions were playing for seeding and not a playoff spot.
It also tells me that Caldwell and his team’s 9-7 record was nothing less of a fluke. I don’t care if you’re a fan or not, you and I both know the Lions wont top 9 wins next season, especially having to face the AFC north, which is funny because all four teams in that division play outdoors…the Lions played a total of 3 games outdoors this season, and assuming they get at least one of the four teams late in the season could prove to be problematic. I mean, if you think the Lions can win eight 4th quarter drive games, more power to ya, because I’m telling you they won’t.
That brings me to my last point / observation. What’s with that novice level game planning? It’s like they say hey, we’re going to jerk around for the first three quarters and then strap up to play come the fourth. I mean, at least there consistent with it but I don’t see relying on Stafford’s inaccurate arm late in the game getting them over the hump.
You look at the Detroit Tigers and you think about what GM Al Avila did with manager Brad Ausmus. Avila liked him so much he didn’t extend his contract but gave him one more year while at the same time, disappointed in the way the season ended but not enough to fire him. It just doesn’t add up, so overall I think Quinn needs to take charge like his title allows him to, and get the Lions successor in place sooner than later.
The Lions really blew it with this one, and more than the team, it’ll be the fans suffering once again from yet another mediocre season due to lack of heart and coaching.