Here we go. It’s 2018 now, and this year has started off with a bang. In the course of 10 hours on Monday, the Lions fired Jim Caldwell and requested six interviews for Jim’s former job. One of which—Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin—will be already taking place on Tuesday.
With all of these vacancies, the big question I have today is where would you want to wind up if you were a head coach in search of a job?
Sure, the Giants look appealing because of the market and Odell Beckham Jr. But this is a team with a lot of division in the locker room and tons of questions. The Bears job is an attractive job for the future, but it will take time to get things going. The Cardinals are likely going to be looking for a new quarterback and No. 1 receiver. The Colts are a disaster without Andrew Luck and nobody can tell you when Luck is playing again. And the Bengals are a pretty decent team that could simply benefit from new leadership.
That leaves ths Lions as the most attractive destination. Not sure about that? Here are four reasons for you.
The team is young, but mostly ready to go
The Lions have a generally young nucleus to work with. With guys like Darius Slay, A’Shawn Robinson, Theo Riddick, Golden Tate, and Marvin Jones Jr. still in their early or late 20s, there’s a lot there to work with. The other thing about those players is that they’re ready to go and are already some of the best at their position.
As far as the young guys that you can work with, Taylor Decker, Jamal Agnew and Jarrad Davis are some of the young rising stars in the NFL that can still be molded into better players. It’s very enticing.
According to ESPN—who also ranked the Lions as the top head coaching vacancy—the Lions had the “24th-oldest starters in 2017, not counting quarterbacks.”
A front office that demands success
Let’s get real here. The Lions just fired a coach that led them to back-to-back winning seasons. This front office no longer wants the Lions to be a mediocre franchise. With that in mind, whoever takes the job will be immediately under a lot of pressure to make things happen, but they’ll be in good hands.
You’re also going to get backed up by a general manager that has shown himself to be a pretty decent drafter in the past two years. So while that pressure is there, you’re going to have some support. The biggest support is that Bob Quinn has re-connected the disconnect between the coaching staff and the front office when it comes to scouting and drafting. That’s something the previous regime was terrible at.
This point also leads to the next point.
Here’s one of the best reasons to get excited about the Lions and their coaching prospects. The Lions have a ton of money. In fact, they have the eighth highest cap room in the league going into the offseason. The Colts are the only team in the coaching search that has more money than they do.
So you’re going to a team that doesn’t need to rebuild, yet has the money of a team going through a rebuild. And you also are going to a team that, as I mentioned before, allows the coaching staff to be a part of bringing players in.
Enjoy using the Ford’s credit card so you can grab the best players for your scheme.
You have an elite quarterback already
This is the number one reason right here. The Lions are ready to go at the most important position in the game. This is something that none of the other teams can offer. You can take a chance on Andrew Luck being healthy or the same player he once was, or you can go with a quarterback that’s healthy and playing the best ball of his career.
The other good thing about Stafford is that he’s only 29 years old. I know we bring that up a lot, but, man, does that take a lot of worry out of a coach’s mind. It can be the one thing that makes a coach wonder if he’s going to be around for awhile or if he should just rent an apartment.
In closing, if a coach chose Detroit, they’re going to a team that has young talent that’s both ready to go and moldable for the future, a front office that will work with you to get the tools you need while also pushing you for success, a team with ample cap space and the willingness to spend money, and an elite quarterback.
All that’s up for the coach to do? Get a pass rush, solve a 20-year-old rushing problem, win the division for the first time since 1993, win the franchise’s second playoff game in the Super Bowl era, and appease the fans (which is essentially all of those things plus good time management). Good luck.