Detroit Lions: Ranking the top 7 coaches in franchise history

Detroit Lions (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions
Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

4) Jim Caldwell

Jim Caldwell spent four years in Detroit from 2014-2017. Caldwell led the Lions to a record of 36-28 in the regular season and was 0-2 in the playoffs. Caldwell’s tenure was known mostly for two things; one, how hard his team played for him, and two, getting screwed in Dallas in the 2014 playoffs.

Caldwell was a players coach and it showed in the effort his team gave for him. Unlike so many other coaches that have led the Honolulu Blue and Silver, Caldwell had the dilemma of having a franchise quarterback, but no ground game to support him.

Outside of the 2014 season when the Lions had one of the better defenses in team history, the Lions defense was generally spotty under Caldwell and had trouble getting the big stops. Some will point to the ‘Hail Mary’ loss to the Packers at Ford Field in 2015 as a prime example.

For some that loss to the Packers also illustrated one of Caldwell’s biggest weaknesses; his in-game management. Why Caldwell wanted to defend the ball instead of the end zone in that situation when only a touchdown could defeat them, is beyond comprehension.

Yet, Caldwell’s Lions were seldom blown out and always gave one-hundred percent effort. Perhaps if they had executed better, things might have turned out differently.