Jim Caldwell and his coaching were not good enough for Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn. Well, what about Matt Patricia’s?
Jim Caldwell will have his name mentioned each time the Detroit Lions lose a game.
Or at least until the Lions fire head coach Matt Patricia.
When the Lions fired Caldwell, Bob Quinn infamously said that a 9-7 record was not good enough.
And to be fair to Quinn, he’s right.
With the roster that Caldwell had, he did not live up to expectations. His four seasons with the Lions consisted of two playoff berths, losing both to the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. In addition to that, the Lions were unsuccessful in winning the NFC North under Caldwell. They were runner-ups for the division crown three out of four years with him at the helm. Not to forget, Caldwell would occasionally get outcoached pretty severely. For any other NFL franchise with a winning culture, these results would be unacceptable.
The Detroit Lions are not any other NFL franchise. And the organization has not been in the same sentence with “winning culture” since 1957.
At least they weren’t until they hired Jim Caldwell.
Now here are the Lions three seasons removed from dismissing him as head coach, and they’ve regressed significantly. Honestly, the regression is so bad that it can make one wonder if Caldwell’s firing cursed the team.
It’s the only explanation for the complete trainwreck Lions fans are subject to every Sunday afternoon.
The Detroit Lions look worse than they have in nearly two decades. Yes, even worse than the 0-16 team. Yesterday’s loss proved it.
During Jim Caldwell’s last season with the Lions, one blunder that sticks out like a sore thumb was during a 44-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (2017). In the fourth quarter, with the Ravens driving down the field, the Lions defense somehow only had nine players on the field. And the Ravens took advantage of that.
Jim Caldwell took tons of criticism for it, and rightfully so.
Then something funny took place during the Lions loss Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings. For the second week in a row, the Lions’ defense snapped the ball with ten men on the field. To make matters worse, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook burned them for a 70-yard touchdown on that same play. It was the icing on the cake for the Matt Patricia era in Detroit.
More than anything, it should be the final nail in the coffin for “The Patriot Way” in Detroit. It just doesn’t work. Not unless you have the combination of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
When Jim Caldwell was head coach of the Lions, they looked like professionals.
The one thing that is startling about the Lions under Matt Patricia is the way they look.
Since he has taken over for Caldwell, the Lions get outclassed in a lot of games. The defense is continuing a nasty trend of making opposing quarterbacks look like Hall of Famers. Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell continues to demonstrate confusing playcalling. For instance, take the play where Danny Amendola dropped a wide-open pass from Matthew Stafford on second down.
They immediately went back to the SAME PLAY on third down, only for the Vikings defense to sniff it out. Matthew Stafford’s mistakes were also in rare form. Those two back-to-back interceptions he threw to linebackers were two of his worse in a long time.
The Lions do not look like professionals under Matt Patricia.
They did under Jim Caldwell, though. Under Caldwell, they were a good team. Some would say even respectable. Sunday afternoons watching the Lions under his coaching gave fans hope. It was watching football in Detroit and knowing the home team had a chance to do something special, possibly.
Now under Matt Patricia, those things mentioned above are a distant memory. Please make no mistake about it. The way the Lions handled firing Jim Caldwell too early is a bad look for the organization.
However, an even worse look is continuing to give a losing coach countless opportunities to “get it right” that you wouldn’t provide the winning coach you fired.