INDIANAPOLIS — Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he didn’t want to draw direct parallels to the Lions and Dolphins, but he said it’s important for the coaching staff to know and understand players to prevent a situation similar to the one with the bullying scandal between Dolphins Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
“In coaching one of the things that’s extremely important to us is we understand the guys that come into our locker room that are there to help us and to help us win,’’ Caldwell said today (Thursday) at the NFL Combine. “We really make certain that hazing does not exist in that atmosphere. That’s the thing that we look at and talk about and profess early on. When I have an opportunity to meet with our team on April 7 — it will be the first time I see the great majority of them together — that will be something obviously we will emphasize in terms of our philosophy overall.’’
By terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement, April 7 is the first day players and coaches can work together on a team with a first-year coach.
Caldwell, who was hired on Jan. 14, was coach for the Colts for three seasons.
This is not his first rodeo. He puts responsibility on the coaches.
“We’re responsible for everything, in that sense. We’re responsible for wins and losses, we’re responsible for the conduct of our staff, we’re responsible obviously for our players as well,’’ Caldwell said. “That’s how we’re judged. We have to make certain that we understand that and therefore do everything we can to make certain it’s going in the direction we like.’’
With strong leadership from veterans and even young guys like Matthew Stafford, the Lions’ locker room atmosphere has not been an issue of contention.
Sounds like Caldwell aims to keep it that way.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin talked to the media earlier on Thursday.
“I want everybody to know, I’m the one responsible for the workplace environment at the Miami Dolphins,” Philbin said.
“We’re going to have a better workplace, I promise you that,” Philbin said. “I’m going to make sure that happens.’’