On Wednesday, Jan. 15 the Detroit Lions announced the decision to hire the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell as their next head coach. After this decision was announced, many Lions’ fans were not sure the organization had made the right choice. Many fans are questioning the hire based on Caldwell’s past history.
One reason why some fans are questioning the hire of Caldwell is his lack of ability to develop quarterbacks. The Lions’ quarterback Mathew Stafford is coming off his worst season in the NFL. This year, Stafford threw a career high 19 interceptions. Lions fans are hoping that Caldwell can come in and help Stafford cut down that number by half but based on his work with Ravens quarter back Joe Flacco, Lions fans are not optimistic. Last year, Flacco threw a career high 22 interceptions and his passer rating dropped by nearly 14 points.
“He was the Baltimore offensive coordinator for only one full season and Flacco’s interceptions went up so I’m not sure if he is going to help Stafford have a bounce back year,” senior Derek Striker said.
However, Lions fans are not only wondering if Caldwell can turn around quarterback Stafford but they are also wondering if he can resurrect the Lions’ offense as a whole because his stint in Baltimore suggests otherwise. Last season was Caldwell’s first full season as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator and they dropped in a lot of key offensive statistics. Last season, the Ravens threw for 3,739 passing yards as a team but that number was down from two years ago. The Ravens’ rushing yards as a team also went down from their Super bowl winning season to this one. When the Ravens won the championship in 2013 they rushed for a total of 1,901 yards on the season. This past season they only rushed for 1,328 yards.
“It’s never a good sign when both your passing and rushing yards drop from a year ago,” senior Matthew Lee said. “Not only did their numbers drop but he was the one calling the plays on offense so that makes it even worse”.
Lions’ fans are also questioning the decision to hire based on his record as a head coach in both the NFL (National Football League) and the NCAA (National College Athletic Association). Caldwell has only been a head coach in the NFL for three years when he coached the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-2011. While there, Caldwell posted a 26-22 record but it is important to remember for the first two years he had quarterback Peyton Manning. When he had Manning he was 24-8 but when Manning sat out the 2010-2011 season Caldwell only managed to win two games the entire year.
“It’s really not that hard to win games when you have Peyton Manning as your quarterback because he is one of the all-time greats and every head coach that has had Peyton has won a lot of games with him,” Striker said.
Caldwell also was the head coach at the Wake Forest University 1993- 2000. The Demon Deacons went 26-63 during the Caldwell era. Along with a poor overall record Wake Forest also had a poor conference record going 12-52 in the Atlantic Athletic Conference.
“It doesn’t matter where you have coached having a record that bad in either college or the pros is a big concern,” Lee said. “It makes me wonder if he is fit to be a head coach or if he is better suited to be a coordinator.”
Even though there is some concern about the hire based on Caldwell’s past history Lions fans still have high hopes for the 2014-2015 season based on all the talents the Lions have.