The days following the Detroit Lions’ Week 17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings were tough times for both the team and the NFL. Most fans could probably guess see the dismissal of head coach Jim Schwartz coming after playoff hopes disappeared once they lost to Eli Manning’s New York Giants.
Though Schwartz “salvaged” a team that already included Calvin Johnson from Rob Marinelli’s pitiful 0-16 season, Schwartz had always had troubles closing out the a season. In Schwartz’s third year as head coach, with the help of a quite talented roster, he took the team to the playoffs. The true story of that season though, lies in the fact that after a 6-0 start, the Lions lost six of the next ten 10 to finish with a 10-6 record.
General management hopes new head coach Jim Caldwell can do what Schwartz struggled to do: win in the last second half of the season. With three Super Bowl appearances under his belt and two rings to brag about, Lions fans hope he can replicate his success in Detroit. Detroit’s talented roster has caused team president Tom Lewand to label Caldwell’s new job the “best available job” according to NFL.com.
Despite his impressive pedigree, which includes coaching Peyton Manning, Caldwell has his critiques critics and doubters much like the Lions due do. The 2014 season can be his and the organization’s chance to shake the dust and give the fans the season they deserve. Fans and analysts alike are anxious to see which coach they see next year during week one 1.
Will the Caldwell that took the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl appear on the sidelines? Or will fans learn why the Colts organization decided to clean house after a terrible Manning-less 2011 season for Indianapolis? Critiques Critics have speculated that the Colts’ 2010 season Super Bowl appearance was more owed to Manning than to Caldwell’s leadership. As if to validate their opinions, the next season the Colts finished 2-14.
Caldwell seemed to bounce back alright as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, winning last year’s Super Bowl. This time, instead of Joe Flacco and Ray Rice (not to mention a huge defensive boost from Ray Lewis), Caldwell will have a weapons ranging from Reggie Bush to Ndamukong Suh to go to work for him.
Luckily enough for Lions fans, there is no shortage of raw talent and star power on their team. This means that even if rumors that Caldwell can’t cannot win without his stars are true, the Lions have some cushion to fall back upon. After half a century lost at sea, the Lions want to believe their they are finally close to reaching land. Hopefully for everyone’s sake, Caldwell can get them there before they mutiny.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.