Former Lions coach Jim Caldwell says that General Manager Bob Quinn wanted to fire him from the moment Quinn arrived in Detroit in January of 2016.
Caldwell said on former Lions safety Glover Quin’s podcast that he believes Quinn wanted him gone from the beginning.
“I think without question that had he been left to his own devices I probably would have been gone the day he came in, just kind of the feeling that I got even though obviously it went through a two-week process of kind of going through an interview process with him in order to keep my job,” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “And I was thankful to be able to continue because I did think that we were going to move in the right direction, I did think that we had something that was pretty special.”
So why didn’t Quinn fire Caldwell immediately? It appears to have been a combination of the fact that Lions owner Martha Ford was a vocal supporter of Caldwell, and that Quinn’s preferred choice, Matt Patricia, was on the Patriots’ coaching staff in the playoffs and would have had to wait a few weeks to be interviewed.
Caldwell ended up coaching the Lions to the playoffs in 2016, which saved his job for the year. In 2017 Caldwell’s Lions went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, and Quinn fired him and replaced him with Patricia. Given that back-to-back winning seasons weren’t enough to save Caldwell’s job, while Quinn has kept Patricia despite going 6-10 in his first year and 3-12-1 in his second, it’s clear that Quinn is willing to give Patricia more leeway than he was willing to give Caldwell.