The Detroit Lions wisely decided to can Jim Schwartz after the season following the team’s collapse, as they really should have won the NFC North and were instead met with a disappointing result. Schwartz created an atmosphere conducive to a lack of discipline, and he also did very little to help coax consistency out of star quarterback Matthew Stafford. There is little doubt that Stafford has elite physical tools, but he needs some work on consistently making good decisions and showing good technique. Schwartz just isn’t a good enough coach to do either, so the Lions are naturally eyeing a head coach who cuts his teeth on the offensive side of the ball.
The two coaches they have interviewed thus far are Ken Whisenhunt and Jim Caldwell, and they are offensive coordinators for the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens respectively and have head coaching experience. Caldwell, who satisfied the Rooney Rule for the Lions but is also a fully legit candidate, spent his interview breaking down Stafford’s 2013 mistakes and offering corrections. He’s one of the best in the business at working with QBs, but he’s not a highly regarded head coach.
Whisenhunt, on the other hand, is held in higher regard, and it sounds like he is the favorite to win the Lions head coaching gig. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Lions head coaching gig is Whisenhunt’s “to lose”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions hired him tomorrow if the Chargers lose to the Cincinnati Bengals today. So yeah, I guess we know who Martin Mayhew and Co. are rooting for, and there is also little doubt that the Lions head coaching gig is the most attractive on the market.