ALLEN PARK — Jim Caldwell has been named coach of the Detroit Lions according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Caldwell, who is coming from the Baltimore Ravens where he was offensive coordinator, was the first candidate interviewed by the Lions just days after they fired Jim Schwartz. During his interview he met with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Caldwell’s expertise is on the offensive side of the ball which was the similiarity between all four candidates. They all had NFL head coaching experience also.
Caldwell worked for Tony Dungy at the Indianapolis Colts as quarterbacks coach/assistant head coach for seven years (2002-2008). He worked with Peyton Manning who won three NFL MVP awards during that stretch. The Colts also won Super Bowl XLI (2006).
When Dungy retired after the 2008 season, Caldwell took over and brought the Colts back to the Super Bowl where they lost to the New Orleans Saints.
Caldwell was fired after three seasons (2009-2011) as the Colts’ coach. In his final season in Indianapolis, Manning could not play because of his neck injury, and the Colts went 2-14.
Caldwell, who will be 59 on Thursday, was hired by the Ravens as a quarterbacks coach for the 2012 season. Then late in December 2012, the Ravens promoted him to offensive coordinator after they fired Cam Cameron.
Tony Dungy has spoken to the Lions about Caldwell according to several media reports. Caldwell also worked for Dungy as quarterbacks coach at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001.
Caldwell has a similar personality to Dungy — cerebral, genuine, thoughtful and dignified — according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch column by Bernie Miklasz written just before the Colts’ Super Bowl appearance after the 2009 season.
In that same column, Miklasz said Caldwell earned the respect of the Colts’ veterans when Dungy’s son committed suicide late in the 2005 season. Caldwell took over when Dungy left to be with his family.
Miklasz wrote: “The Colts pulled themselves together and defeated Seattle by 15 points, and Dungy returned the following week. But Caldwell's calm, firm leadership impressed the players and Colts executives.
"It was a difficult time," Caldwell said. "Our goal was to return the team to Tony in exactly the same way he found it. It was also important that we stayed steady and be a pillar of strength for the guys. And that was extremely important in a very difficult time."
Perhaps the biggest controversy surrounding Caldwell came in the 2009 season when the Colts were 14-0 and he sat the starters which led to a loss to the Jets.
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