Jim Caldwell’s Fate Not Tied to Playoffs?

Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Many in the media, including yours truly, have forwarded the notion the Detroit Lions must make the playoffs in 2016 in order for Head Coach Jim Caldwell to keep his job.

This notion makes perfect sense. New GM Bob Quinn comes from outside the organization and has no ties to Caldwell. The poker-faced coach enters his third year in Detroit with a solid 18-14 record, though last year’s 7-9 was widely perceived as an underachieving disappointment.

Not so fast, says Quinn.

When asked about Caldwell’s goals and fate by the Detroit Free Press, the GM responded,

"There is no mandate of number of wins and there is no mandate of playoffs."

First and foremost, this is exactly how you expect someone who suckled at Bill Belichick’s teat. Belichick’s own mentor Bill Parcells would have been gruffer and used more colorful language but delivered the same base message.

Of course the GM isn’t going to go public with any sort of win mandate or threat to Caldwell’s job security. Few front offices ever do such a thing, and it works even fewer times. Other than Jim Fassell in New York, it’s hard to remember any coach playing under a management stipulation of “you must win X to keep your job” and actually achieving the stated goal.

Right now, the focus is on building positive support for a team with a lot of potential for success but also several real issues that could drop the record from last year’s 7-9. Quinn has to support Jim Caldwell now. Otherwise the rookie GM would be admitting he made a rookie mistake in keeping Caldwell after barely getting to know the coach.

More from SideLion Report

It’s important to remember many of the veteran leaders on the team spoke in favor of Caldwell. For those who played under both Caldwell and Jim Schwartz, it’s easy to see why. Caldwell has many negatives as a coach, but his fair and mature treatment of the players is a major positive.

Quinn’s unstated hope is that his own personnel acumen will give Caldwell enough talent to succeed with his emotionless, cerebral, patient style. In a way, if Quinn had told the Free Press the team had to win 10 games and make the playoffs, he would have been throwing his own rope over the shower rod. After all, Caldwell would be failing to achieve in part because Quinn didn’t get him enough help.

Bob Quinn is too smart to fall for that trap.