Asked this month if he'd be willing to work with a passing coach, Stafford told reporters: "Probably not."
Those days are over. Gone is Jim Schwartz and his laissez-faire approach to Stafford's wayward mechanics. Caldwell has been hired because Detroit's braintrust wants a hands-on coach to guide its quarterback's career arc -- and with it the fate of the Lions.
It's not a production issue with Stafford, never has been. He offers immense physical talent and three consecutive seasons with 4,500-plus passing yards. He's the primary reason the Lions job was hoisted up as the league's most attractive opening, but Stafford also has plenty to do with Detroit melting down the stretch in the NFC North in 2013.
Caldwell has specialized in taking ready-made offenses to the mountaintop. Guiding Stafford anywhere else will be viewed as a failure.