Detroit Lions fire Jim Caldwell; 4 candidates emerge

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 3: Head Coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions looks on from the side lines in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 3: Head Coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions looks on from the side lines in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M /

The Detroit Lions fired their head coach, Jim Caldwell, on Monday morning. And four potential replacements have emerged from the rubble.

After a four-year stint in the Motor City, the Detroit Lions have decided to part ways with head coach Jim Caldwell. That’s despite the team posting a winning record for three of his four seasons in Detroit, and reaching the playoffs twice.

Caldwell brought a lot of success to Detroit, ending his time there posting a 36-28 record. But his inability to win in the postseason was likely the biggest reason for his firing. Now on the open market, the 62-year old figures to be a hot candidate for a coordinator position elsewhere. Caldwell has won two Super Bowls as a quarterback coach or offensive coordinator, and took the Indianapolis Colts to the championship game as a head coach in 2009.

The Lions, and more specifically general manager Bob Quinn, will now start the search for a new head coach to helm the team. And now we know at least four candidates have emerged from the potential coaching carousel.

With Quinn’s strong ties to the New England Patriots, having spent approximately 15 years with the organization prior to joining the Lions as general manager back in 2016, some obvious connections have been made.

Although New England’s longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels figures to be a hot name this offseason for a potential head coaching spot in the NFL, it’s actually Patriot’s defensive coordinator Matt Patricia that appears to be the candidate the Lions’ are more interested in.

The speculation is Detroit could want a more defensive-minded head coach in an attempt to keep their offense somewhat intact. And Patricia has been the defensive coordinator in New England since 2012 and part of the organization since 2004, winning three Super Bowls in the process.

But three more names have emerged as potential head coaching candidates for the Lions as well.

According to the’s Albert Breer, Detroit has requested an interview with Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel. The former NFL linebacker played for the Patriots for eights season from 2001-2008.

According NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, Detroit has also requested to talk to Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as well. Before joining the Vikings in 2016, Shurmur is best known for being the head coach for the Cleveland Browns from 2011-2012. The Browns went 9-23 during his time there.

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Finally, the Detroit Lions have reportedly also requested an interview with Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. That according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Wilks has formerly been the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears (2006-2008), the San Diego Chargers (2009-2011) and the Panthers, where he has been since 2012. Last season, the 48-year old was promoted to defensive coordinator in Carolina.