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Thursday open thread: Should Jim Caldwell keep his job if Lions go 10-6, but miss playoffs?

Is a slight improvement record enough to keep Jim Caldwell’s job?

Detroit Lions v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

As we get closer and closer to the end of the season, it’s looking more and more possible that the Detroit Lions finish their 2017 conquest with an improved 10-6 record, but finish outside of the playoff picture.

Not only does Detroit need to win out their next two games to make the postseason, but they’ll need—at least—one of the top three NFC South teams to lose their final two games. It’s certainly possible, especially since all three have games within the division left on their schedule, but the odds are not in Detroit’s favor.

Which could leave the team in a precarious spot. A 10-6 record is technically an improvement from last year’s 9-7 finish, but it’s hard to truly consider that an improvement when they don’t make the postseason.

Jim Caldwell’s job security seemed tenuous, at best, just a few weeks ago. After falling to 6-6 following a loss to the Ravens, Caldwell had reached what seemed like a point of no return with some fans. Reports came out that his “multi-year” extension was really just one more year through 2018 and a second-year option.

In other words, Caldwell’s seat was hotter than ever.

But a 4-0 finish and a last ditch effort to make the playoffs could be enough to buy him another year. So today’s Question of the Day is:

Do you think Jim Caldwell should keep his job if the Lions go 10-6 but miss out on the playoffs?

My answer: First off, I want to say that I am almost positive that he will keep his job if this scenario plays out. I know some may still hold onto the feeling that Caldwell isn’t Bob Quinn’s guy, but the contract extension, however short, speaks volumes about his confidence in the Lions head coach.

As for my personal beliefs, I honestly think Caldwell should probably get another shot even if he goes 9-7. Some like to conclusively claim that the Lions have plateaued under Caldwell and will never make the next step with him running the team.

My counterargument to that is simple: Do you really think this roster is where it needs to be right now? I have to believe the answer to this for almost every Lions fan is a resounding “no.” By all measures, this is a team that can currently do just one thing well: Throw the ball (well, and special teams stuff). They can’t run the ball. They can’t rush the passer, they typically can’t stop the run.

I want to see what Caldwell can do with a team with a better roster before I go about calling for his job. The closest we got to seeing Caldwell manage a Lions team with an admirable roster was in 2014. The Lions went 11-5 that year and were a picked up flag away from earning their first playoff win in over two decades. While I put a lot of blame on Caldwell for losing that game (still bitter he didn’t go for it after the picked up flag), I’m not going to bury the guy’s career over one bad decision.

Fix the pass rush, inject some talent and innovation in the running game and come back to me next year.

Your turn.


Should Jim Caldwell keep his job if the Lions go 10-6 and miss the playoffs?

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