Detroit Lions: So this is it for Jim Caldwell, right?
If head coach Jim Caldwell is ultimately fired by the Detroit Lions, look no further than the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as the reason why.
I’m not passing judgement about whether or not I think Jim Caldwell is a good coach. I’m no expert on the situation and can’t say for certain whether it’s the right or wrong move. Following Sunday’s highly-disappointing loss at Cincinnati though, all signs point to the same outcome: Jim Caldwell’s time as the Detroit Lions head coach is coming to an end.
If Caldwell fails to survive the NFL’s annual “Black Monday” next week, it won’t be because the Lions missed the playoffs. It will be because this game is the one that’s going to keep them out.
Let’s say the Lions won their last four games to finish 10-6, but the Falcons also won next week. Could you really blame Caldwell for ten wins in a crowded field?
Or, say Aaron Rodgers stayed back and surgically orchestrated yet another Week 17 heart extraction on the Lions. That sucks, but that’s what Aaron Rodgers does. It would be controversial, but I can envision Caldwell being given one more chance next year in that case.
Let’s say those two inches at the goal line back in Week 3 were the only thing separating Detroit from consecutive playoff appearances. Bob Quinn would have a difficult decision to make. Caldwell would have a chance though.
The Cincinnati game puts all of those what-ifs to bed once and for all though. Losing the way they lost, against the team that beat them, against the coach that out-coached him…that’s easy.
Marvin Lewis = “tremendous”
In the lead-up to the Cincinnati game, Jim Caldwell was asked about Marvin Lewis, the soon-to-be former Bengals head coach. Caldwell had some very nice things to say about his colleague. The guys at the Free Press ripped him apart for it. And what happens? An underachieving and undermanned Marvin Lewis team with little to play for eliminates them from playoff contention.
I’m not saying I agree with the “win the Super Bowl or you suck!” mentality that many fans seem to have. I’m not saying I agree with the “lose and you’re fired!” mentality that all owners seem to have.
I actually agree with a lot of Caldwell’s sentiment towards Marvin Lewis. Lasting 15 years as an NFL head coach these days really is pretty “tremendous”. You’re saying you wouldn’t take four division titles and seven playoff appearances right about now (although the zero playoff wins was a problem)?
A few things in this situation are undeniable though. If you’re fighting for your job, your team can’t come out completely flat in a true must-win game. On the two biggest possessions of the season (one offensive, one defensive), your team can’t self-destruct.
Your team can’t get torn apart by the one rushing attack in the entire league that’s worse than their own. To make matters worse, it was the backup tearing them up. Symbolically, that tells you all you need to know about Caldwell’s future in Detroit.
Next: Is Josh McDaniels the Detroit Lions next head coach?
As fans hoping for a playoff return, maybe it’s for the best to be put out of our misery one week early. As for Caldwell, he’ll have to wait one more week, but he’ll likely soon be put out of his as well.