While it seemed like new Lions general manager Bob Quinn was letting head coach Jim Caldwell twist in the wind upon his hiring back in January, it was simply the precursor to Quinn making "probably the easiest and best decision I made."
That's what Quinn told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday (via the Detroit Free Press) anyway. He didn't stop there.
"(I) really have a great working relationship with Jim," Quinn said. "All of the sets of meetings we had, whether it was when I first got there figuring out our team, leading into free agency, leading into the draft meetings, really felt comfortable with Jim and his staff and their ability to take a player that has a certain skill set and make that fit into the schemes that their running.
"Offense is offense, in my opinion, but defensive scheme-wise you've got to have good fits. In New England, we liked big linebackers, we liked big defensive linemen, we played a two-gap style defense. But here in Detroit, I'm really learning how to evaluate the one-gap players. It's really exciting. It's something that I'm listening a lot to, to our scouts, our personnel guys and our coaches about what they see and then was able to kind of put those into the decision making process for the draft and free agency and I've felt like we've added good players on the defensive side as well."
While Quinn didn't mention this, the main reasons for keeping Caldwell were obvious (at least to us). Not only is he a capable head coach with a career winning record who did a pretty incredible job navigating a disastrous season in 2015, but he was a coach with no other options if he wanted the same title and job in another city. Caldwell is more likely to be receptive to Quinn's new ideas than another "hot candidate" coming in with leverage. It also saved Quinn the stress of fast-tracking a coaching hire relatively late in the process.
Quinn should be thankful after essentially building in a redshirt year for himself. Getting the opportunity to pick his own head coach down the road, if that day comes, will re-start the clock and change the time frame on which he is evaluated by ownership. That is never something a good general manager considers when making a coaching decision, but it doesn't hurt when it works out that way.
Obviously, the dream scenario here is that they turn out to be the Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera of the Midwest, where an inherited coach turns out to be a gift after initially looking like a curse. Either that or they eventually become the John Idzik and Rex Ryan of the Midwest -- the other direction this can go.