Blame is always aplenty when you have underachieved as the Lions have for a significant time. This coaching regime has had four years and although Caldwell is the head coach, he isn’t the only person culpable.
Since I listed head coaching candidates in my previous post, I will refrain from making another list of coaches. It is somewhat needless to say that when your defense is ranked 27th, that some of that is the fault of the defensive coordinator. Ditto when your offense cannot run the ball.
Many people list our defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, as a popular head coach candidate. Obviously, the only way to reconcile those facts is to say that Bob Quinn and Martin Mayhew, the current and former general managers, respectively, did not provide Austin with top talent.
Austin is doing the best he can with the roster, some will say.
That is true to a large extent, but you cannot completely let him off of the hook since he has been coaching these players for several years and not seen much improvement.
Also, why didn’t he see that the defense only had nine men on the field?
Jim Bob Cooter
Likewise, offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has seemed to help quarterback Matt Stafford run the offense better, but has failed to improve the running game during his tenure. Cooter’s offense is also dogged by underachieving.
Despite being gifted one of the best gunslingers in football, Cooter’s unit is probably the most one-dimensional offense in the NFL. The offense lacks a difference-maker at running back while possessing a mediocre and oft-injured front line. Inconsistency is the constant.
We’re all too familiar with how long it has been since the Lions had a 100-yard rusher.
Also, like his defensive counterpart, Cooter is a head coach candidate. Cooter was frequently connected to his alma mater, the University of Tennessee, for the head coach job that was recently available.
People outside of Detroit seem to credit him for Matt Stafford’s progress during the last couple of years.
Both men seem to have better control over their personnel, in general, than Caldwell has over any aspect of the team. They are keeping his job for him, to repeat a popular sentiment.
Head coach chatter
The details were leaked about Jim Caldwell’s one year, with an option for more, deal. The Fords and Quinn do not have a long-term plan in place for Caldwell, apparently. It also suggests that they withheld the details to throw out if Caldwell struggled this year; to make themselves look better should the season disappoint fans.
“We only signed him to a one year deal, don’t you feel better, now?”
The bottom line is that the whole staff could be about to leave. If the Lions fail to win in the postseason, or fail to get to the postseason, those two coordinators may feel like their resumé is as good as it can get in the Motor City. Blameless they are not, but both men will likely be given the chance to rehab their reputations elsewhere.