It was a surprise when Jim Caldwell's name surfaced in connection to many NFL teams' head-coaching vacancies.
It's not that Caldwell hasn't experienced NFL success, because he has. It's that many believe quarterback Peyton Manning and former Colts coach Tony Dungy were most responsible for his success there.
The Detroit Lions hope that Caldwell was a bigger part of that success, and the Ravens' Super Bowl run last year, than many give him credit for.
The Lions, who were seemingly the favorites to hire Ken Whisenhunt before Whisenhunt took the Titans' head-coaching job on Monday, quickly moved to hire Caldwell on Tuesday according to numerous reports.
Caldwell was with Indianapolis from 2002-11, and was quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the team's only Super Bowl win at the end of the 2006 season, and was head coach for the team's AFC championship during the 2009 season. He was Indianapolis' head coach for three seasons. Without Manning for the 2011 season, the Colts went 2-14 and Caldwell was fired.
But his next stop certainly helped his profile. He was hired by the Ravens to be their quarterbacks coach, but during the 2012 season Cam Cameron was fired as offensive coordinator. Caldwell took over that role, quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense took off with Caldwell calling plays, and the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
The Lions hope Caldwell can have the same effect on their young quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has been up and down in his career, with a great amount of talent but often with sloppy mechanics that leads to mistakes. The Lions lost six of seven games to finish the season, blowing any chance of winning the NFC North, and a big reason was Stafford had more interceptions than touchdowns in that stretch. The losses cost coach Jim Schwartz his job.
Caldwell isn't known for a very exciting personality, and perhaps that's why some were curious why he was such a hot candidate. But he has been a big part of a lot of winning seasons, and two Super Bowl teams. The Lions are hoping he can bring the same results to Detroit.
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