When Jim Caldwell first interviewed for the Detroit Lions head coaching vacancy, he outlined everything he would do in order to help make Matthew Stafford a better quarterback, and the most important thing for the Lions next head coach has always been to help take Stafford, who doesn’t want to use a QB guru to help him work on his poor technique, to the next level. While Stafford’s arm talent is unquestionably elite, he isn’t consistent enough and could be a truly great quarterback with better technique and more consistent decision-making. Caldwell is great at working with QBs and will definitely help in that regard, but it will be interesting to see who he hires as his offensive coordinator in order to make the Lions offense better.
Caldwell already hired a buddy of his to be the team’s next defensive coordinator, as Teryl Austin worked with Caldwell while they were with the Baltimore Ravens (among other places). Austin, who was the Ravens DBs coach, will help the Lions where they are at their worst (in the secondary), but his overall merits as a DC are unknown at this point. Will he hire someone he is familiar with at OC or will he try and go for the biggest fish available no matter what?
We have one clue regarding what the modest, down-to-earth head coach wants out of his offensive coordinator, and that’s creativity. In an interview with 1130 AM’s Matt Shepard, via MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke, Caldwell said, “I think that innovation is key. One of the things about this league, and particularly in the division, is when you play teams multiple times that you have to have a bit of variety. You have to make sure you can keep them offbalance. That’s going to be key.
I’m glad that Caldwell wants an innovative offensive coordinator to help him out in Detroit, because Caldwell’s one weakness on the offensive side of the ball is the fact that he is a very vanilla coach with his schemes and isn’t creative. He’s patient, disciplined, works incredibly well with players, is amazing at helping QBs, and is smart, but he’s a pretty bland play-caller all told. Getting an innovative OC and play-caller to help him out would definitely be a nice touch for the Lions offense.