A largely disappointing season and the hiring of a new general manager made the outlook for Lions head coach Jim Caldwell fairly ominous heading into this week when the two were supposed to meet.
However, it looks like Caldwell has survived again.
The 60-year-old head coach will be retained by the Lions for the 2016 season, according to the team's official website. Caldwell has gone 18-14 in his two seasons with Detroit.
"It's clear to me that this team believes in him and responds positively to his leadership," new general manager Bob Quinn said, via the team's website.
Though the move will likely be met with rolled eyes by some, Caldwell made some wise personnel moves during the season last year in shifting to new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Detroit started the season 0-5 before scraping out an overtime win over the Bears. They were 1-7 before the team made staff changes at the bye week and finished 7-9.
"I am obviously thrilled that I will continue to lead this football team," Caldwell said in a statement. "I genuinely appreciate the faith Bob has shown in me and I really look forward to working together. As I've said before, I truly love coaching the Lions and, while I've only been here two years, I have grown to love our fans, the city of Detroit, and the people of Detroit and Michigan."
Keeping Caldwell was the safest of scenarios. Though Quinn has Patriots ties, and in turn links to New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the wait for the sought-after play-caller may have been too significant. Also, there may have been doubt that McDaniels could put together a better all-around staff in just a short period of time. Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, continuity with quarterback Matt Stafford was key.
Aside from Cooter, the Lions also have Teryl Austin on defense. Austin was one of the most frequently interviewed candidates for head coaching jobs this offseason, and is still widely considered one of the strongest coordinators in the NFL.
For Quinn, this is not the worst way to begin his tenure, even if he did not get to select his own head coach. Team owner Martha Firestone Ford wanted to keep Caldwell all along, and Quinn can now focus on other aspects of his job for a year while he gets a true evaluation of a coach that has a winning record in Detroit.
Inheriting a coach can lead to success. If nothing else, it can allow Quinn a moment to catch his breath.