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Lions GM calls keeping Caldwell his “best decision”

San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 27: head coach Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions looks on from the side line during the third quarter while playing the San Francisco 49ers at Ford Field on December 27, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Lions win 32-17 over the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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First-year Lions general manager Bob Quinn said Tuesday that retaining Lions head coach Jim Caldwell “was probably the easiest and best decision I’ve made” since being hired in January.

Quinn left the Patriots to take control of the Lions’ football operation as part of a complete restructuring of the team’s front office, but he chose to keep Caldwell on the sideline.

His praise for Caldwell came in an interview Tuesday with SiriusXM NFL Radio.

“I really have a great working relationship with Jim,” Quinn said. “All of the sets of meetings we had, whether it was when I first got there figuring out our team, leading into free agency, leading into the draft meetings...[I] really felt comfortable with Jim and his staff and their ability to take a player that has a certain skill set and make that fit into the schemes that they’re running.

“Offense is offense, in my opinion, but defensive scheme-wise you’ve got to have good fits. In New England, we liked big linebackers, we liked big defensive linemen, we played a two-gap style defense. But here in Detroit, I’m really learning how to evaluate the one-gap players. It’s really exciting. It’s something that I’m listening a lot to, to our scouts, our personnel guys and our coaches about what they see and then was able to kind of put those into the decision making process for the draft and free agency and I’ve felt like we’ve added good players on the defensive side as well.”

The Lions went 11-5 in Caldwell’s first year in 2014 and 7-9 last season. He’s 44-36 in five seasons as an NFL head coach and has won two division championships. The Colts went 14-2 and lost in the Super Bowl in 2009, his first season.