Jim Caldwell is the head coach of a 1-7 football team; one that has already fired its offensive coordinator and one that is quickly skidding toward the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft despite a roster populated with star players.
Detroit is 27th in total defense, 26th in total offense and has a franchise quarterback on pace to be sacked more than 40 times in 2015
But during a bye-week news conference Tuesday, when the subject of local media came up, Caldwell had plenty to say.
"There's no question (Detroit is a more negative media market than I've worked in). That's a fact," Caldwell said. "I'm giving you the facts. Not every single person, I'm not trying to cover the entire group, because that would be unfair, but I'm just talking about overall."
When asked about changing the atmosphere and the negativity, he had this:
"Let me interrupt you one second from you all's standpoint," he said. "From the media that's always been part of it. That's the first thing that I think you notice here. I think I called (the media room) the 'dungeon of doom' when I walked into that room sometimes. So that hasn't changed. It was just a matter of that our guys played better and we've got to get them to play better. The other thing is, criticism doesn't bother us and in particular it doesn't bother me. If you disagree with me, don't like what we do, I'm not one that feels like you're persecuting me as a result of it. You have your opinion. I got mine. I got my expertise in my areas, you've got yours, right?
"I think the discussion is healthy and it's good. I think you stir up the fan base because they have an interest in it, they have passion for it, which is good. The negativity part of it, we control that atmosphere. If we allow it in, that's our problem, OK, that's our problem. And we have to make certain we control it. That's my job."
While the knee-jerk reaction is to kill Caldwell for, in a way, lecturing the media, it's important this be placed in its proper context.
There are aspects of reporting and writing that coaches will never understand, just like there is a grind and tedium in coaching -- an endless search for advantages -- that many on our side won't ever fully comprehend. Those differences come to a head, and sometimes it's not easy to understand the coach's perspective.
But what Caldwell doesn't realize is that coaches rarely win this tug of war. There are coaches that embrace the ride and there are coaches that simply make themselves less hirable the next time around, regardless of how talented and knowledgeable they are.