One of the biggest headlines surrounding the Detroit Lions this off season was the firing of coach Jim Schwartz, and the hiring of coach Jim Caldwell. The Lions had high hopes for Jim Schwartz, but he never ended up delivering for Detroit. After taking the Lions to the playoffs in 2011, coach Schwartz failed to muster any solid wins the very next season. After going 10-6, and losing to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, Jim Schwartz won just 11 games the following two seasons combined.
The Detroit Lions franchise has been on the outside looking in for far too long. After starting the season 6-3 in 2013, the Detroit Lions looked to be in control of their own destiny. However, the lead that they had over their division foes would soon perish. The Lions finished the season going 1-6 in the last 7 games of the season, resulting in one of the largest collapses in team history. Jim Schwartz was ultimately fired, after it was decided that much of the blame fell on his shoulders.
After an extensive search for a new head coach, enter Jim Caldwell. Essentially the opposite of Jim Schwartz, Jim Caldwell was brought in to hold the Detroit Lions talented roster accountable for their mistakes. Schwartz was a defensive minded coach, and Caldwell has experience on the offensive side of the ball. Jim Caldwell has experience working with a talented young team, and has even helped a few teams reach the Super Bowl.
Jim Caldwell was not brought in to win a couple more games than coach Schwartz did, in his tenure with the Detroit Lions. He was brought in to give the Lions a legitimate chance at winning a few playoff games; something the Detroit Lions franchise has not done since 1991.
Caldwell has come into Detroit demanding more from his players than they are used to. Nick Fairley was reportedly unhappy after being forced to practice with the second team defensive line. This coming after reports that Fairley’s conditioning worsened throughout training camp. Jim Caldwell is not worried about Fairley’s feelings, however. He is only worried about putting the best team on the field to win games.
Jim Caldwell has repeatedly told the media that he will not keep a player on the team that does not fit a need for this team moving forward. He is going to put the best players out on the field, regardless of their financial status or how long they have been a part of the team. Jim Caldwell is not trying to be a likeable guy in Detroit, and that is the very reason that he is a likeable guy in Detroit. He was brought it to convert talent to wins, and that is exactly what Jim Caldwell plans on doing.
The Detroit Lions collapse of 2013 can most closely be contributed by a lack of effort on the coaching staff. The offense started to turn the ball over consistently, and the defense just could not hold a lead. But with coach Caldwell coming in and demanding accountability from his players, it seems unlikely that he would stand by idle as his team collapses.