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Jim Caldwell hired by Detroit Lions as next coach

The Detroit Lions moved swiftly Tuesday, hiring Jim Caldwell as their next coach, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported per a source informed of the team's plans.

The Lions officially announced the hiring later that day and will hold a news conference Wednesday at Ford Field. ESPN first reported the news regarding the team's decision.

"On behalf on my entire family, I want to express how thrilled we are with the appointment of Jim Caldwell as our new head coach," Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford said in a statement. "We believe Jim is the right man to lead our team and deliver a championship to our fans."

"I also want to commend (president) Tom (Lewand) and (general manager) Martin (Mayhew) on the thoroughness of the coaching search," Ford continued. "We had a very specific plan and profile for our next head coach, and I am convinced that we found that man in Jim Caldwell."

Caldwell spent three seasons as the Indianapolis Colts' coach from 2009 to 2011 -- leading the team to a berth in Super Bowl XLIV -- before spending the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

The 58-year-old coach met with the Lions earlier this month and impressed the team's brass. During the interview, Caldwell broke down all of Matthew Stafford's throws and pointed out how he would help improve the quarterback's play. Caldwell also sat down and watched film with Stafford during the interview process.

From 2002 to 2008, Caldwell was the Colts' quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach. Peyton Manning often has raved about how much the coach helped him improve as a signal-caller. Former Colts coach Tony Dungy -- a Michigan native -- has also gushed about Caldwell's acumen and leadership.

Caldwell was fired after the Colts went 2-14 in 2011 -- without Manning. The Baltimore Ravens almost immediately hired him as their quarterbacks coach. He took over the Ravens' offensive coordinator duties in December 2012 after the team fired incumbent Cam Cameron.

Caldwell helped take the shackles off the Ravens' offense, spurring a Super Bowl-winning run behind quarterback Joe Flacco's improved play.

In 2013, the Ravens' offense regressed behind a poor offensive line, limited receiver options and a struggling running game. Caldwell shouldn't have those same problems in Detroit, as the Lions have a solid, young offensive line, the NFL's top wide receiver and a potentially dynamic running tandem in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.

Most importantly, in Detroit, Caldwell will have another strong-armed quarterback to help mold.

"This is the job he wanted all along," Caldwell's agent Dennis Coleman told Rapoport after the hiring. "It takes him back to his Midwestern roots."

It was clear from the start that hiring a coach who would help propel Stafford to the next level was Detroit's top priority. After missing out on Ken Whisenhunt on Monday, the Lions hope Caldwell is the man for the job.

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