Reason #1: Firing of Jim Caldwell
Ever since the 0-16 season, you could see the stages of the Detroit Lions rebuild developing right in front of you.
Jim Schwartz was seemingly brought in to get the team back up on its feet, to give them that spark that they desperately needed.
After it was clear that he served his purpose in Detroit, Jim Caldwell was brought in. His purpose was to put Detroit back on the map, and to make them competitive.
He did just that.
Darius Slay was drafted in 2013, Caldwell was hired in 2014. Despite the cornerback not being drafted under Caldwell’s reign, a large portion of his growth was under the former Indianapolis Colts head coach.
Caldwell was seemingly well-liked in the locker room and in the city of Detroit as well. And for good reason.
He was a soft-spoken guy who did his best to make sure to give everyone the respect that they deserved. He wasn’t a jerk to the media and appeared to actually cared about his staff and players.
Slay grew both as a player and a man under Caldwell. It’s easy to get behind a coach who shows that he cares about you as a whole, not just about what you can do on Sundays.
Because of this, it’s plausible to think Caldwell’s firing after the 2017 season might not have sat well with Slay.
Jim Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit consisted of a 56.3 winning percentage, as well as two playoff berths. It seemed like the L:ions were on the brink of being a legit contender in the NFL.
But after another 9-7 season, and another failed attempt at making the playoffs, Caldwell was seemingly fired for … winning? Parting ways with the head coach was a polarizing move to say the least.
Some could argue that the Lions had plateaued, and that Caldwell wouldn’t ever be able to take them over the hump. Others could say that he was on the cusp of making Detroit a force in the NFL.
Whether he knew it at the time or not, I think that the firing of Caldwell was the first of many moves from the Lions front office that might have frustrated Slay.
Then you add on how Detroit proceeds to go 6-10 the following season under Patricia, it just makes the Caldwell firing look even worse.
Well-liked and respected guys being let go has seemed to be a theme for the Detroit Lions over the years..