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Jim Caldwell’s time as Lions head coach should be over after Detroit’s performance against Cincinnati

The Lions had the chance to make the playoffs, but didn’t get the job done against the lifeless Bengals. It’s time for a change.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

With the help of the New Orleans Saints, the Lions were still in contention for a wild card spot. With the shortcomings of Detroit’s coaching staff, the Lions are now eliminated from playoff contention.

During his tenure, I’ve been a firm proponent of Jim Caldwell as head coach of the Detroit Lions. When an overwhelming majority of fans wanted him out, I took a stand for Caldwell, and was right. Caldwell helped turn around the Lions season in 2016, and led them to the playoffs. It was their second appearance in three seasons under Caldwell, but an unfortunate injury to Matthew Stafford was the second turning point in the Lions season, an injury that would limit the offense’s effectiveness down the stretch and cost them dearly in their Wild Card matchup against the Seahawks.

And for as bad as some losses have seemed under Caldwell’s watch(es), nothing has felt so decisive as the loss Detroit suffered on Sunday, experiencing what may have been the defeat that seals his fate come Black Monday.

Detroit was undisciplined, committing nine penalties that cost them 74 yards of field possession. The Lions punted the football twice on fourth-and-1 near midfield, taking the ball out of Stafford’s hands and choosing instead to rely on a defense that was hemorrhaging yards to the Bengals offense; Cincinnati’s rushing attack was the worst in the NFL, averaging 3.4 yards per carry coming into their matchup with Detroit—they ran for 142 yards on 34 carries against Detroit for 4.1 yards per carry.

And Caldwell was willing to accept the blame for his team’s sloppy play:

Too many [penalties] on both sides of the ball. Having guys offsides, guys jumping offsides offensively, just not sharp. When you don’t play well, you gotta own it. I’m responsible for that. Just not our better day.

On the telecast, play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman was pretty sure Caldwell should have challenged the ruling on the field of an incomplete pass when it appeared Golden Tate might have actually hauled in a crucial third-and-23 catch.

Today was the biggest indictment on Caldwell’s tenure as head coach, as it fulfilled all of the prophecies of those who have been looking for a reason for Detroit to make a change at head coach. A slow start, failed opportunities to capitalize in third-and-short situations, and an unwillingness to be aggressive on fourth down—especially on a day where the defense could hardly get in the way of the Bengals offense.

At this point, it’s time for general manager Bob Quinn to put his finishing touches on this team. It’s time for him to hire his head coach and make the definitive move in his tenure as general manager for this organization.


Should Detroit move on from Jim Caldwell this offseason?

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