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Jim Caldwell doesn’t have to make the playoffs to save his job

Jim Caldwell, Chip Kelly


New Lions General Manager Bob Quinn surprised a lot of people around the NFL when he retained head coach Jim Caldwell despite the Lions’ 7-9 record in 2015. He may surprise more people by keeping Caldwell around in 2017 even if the Lions don’t make the playoffs in 2016.

Quinn told the Detroit Free Press that Caldwell will be judged on more than just wins and losses or making the playoffs.

There is no mandate of number of wins and there is no mandate of playoffs,” Quinn said.

So how will Quinn decide if Caldwell deserves to keep his job?

“It’s my feel for, like, his coaching style. The decisions he makes for the team. The way he handles the staff and just how competitive a football team we are,” Quinn said. “Jim’s a great man, he’s a great coach, he has great presence with the team. He has unbelievable presence in front of the team, and I know that the players are going to play hard for him. Like, I can see that, already seven months in, that we’re not going to have an issue with guys loafing around on the field. Like, I can’t imagine that would happen this season. So listen, it’s a combination of wins-losses, decision making. How’s he handle the team? How does he handle adversity? Got players go down, I’m trying to shuffle guys in. Can we get those guys up to speed and get them ready to play? It all goes into it; it’s not just one thing.”

In the words of Bill Parcells, however, you are what your record says you are. It seems unlikely that Quinn would keep Caldwell if the Lions miss the playoffs this season, even if Quinn insists there’s no playoff mandate.