Lions Fire OC, Two Assistants Just Hours After Jim Caldwell Said They Were Safe
October 26 / Rick Chandler / SportsGrid
What's more useless than a Jim Caldwell press conference? Nothing really comes to mind after today. The Detroit Lions' head coach met with the press at his usual Monday confab, and his team being 1-6, and ranked 20th in the NFL in offense and 27th in defense and all, was asked for the 888th time if firings were in the immediate future -- most specifically offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Caldwell said no, and even seemed to get a bit testy about it.
"We evaluate everything all the time, which I told you the other night," Caldwell said. "You asked the same question, I think, the other day. I don't know what difference you think one day is going to make, in terms of my response. It's the same response. We evaluate all the time, so we look at every single thing, every avenue in trying to get better. And particularly where we are, right? We better look at everything."
That was at approximately 1:20 p.m. today. At 4:30 p.m., the Lions announced that Lombardi and two other assistants were fired. So not only does one day make a difference, so does three hours.
The Lions take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in London (9:30 a.m., Fox). Perhaps the front office is waiting until after the game to fire Caldwell as well. Who wants to send a new coach to Europe and pay for an extra passport, shots and tickets to War Horse?
Offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn and assistant offensive line coach Terry Heffernan were also sacked (it's London week, after all).
Many NFL teams have used the week following the London trip to make changes. Detroit flipped the script. Detroit Free Press:
Several teams have made coaching changes after bottoming out in London -- the Miami Dolphins fired Joe Philbin and replaced him with former Lions tight end Dan Campbell earlier this month, and the Oakland Raiders fired Dennis Allen after their London trip last year.
One of Caldwell's final quotes at the press conference today: "I can't foretell the future."
What? Caldwell said that the decision to fire the three assistants was his. So you can't see three hours down the road when it's you making the call? Detroit News:
Caldwell said the decision to fire the three assistant coaches was his, and he pointed to the lack of productivity on offense as the reason he made it. He said he did not consult with ownership before reaching his decision and told the players in a team meeting Monday afternoon.
“Because we just were not productive,” Caldwell said of why he made the decision. “That’s the key.”
With Lombardi out after less than two seasons, the Lions will promote quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter, 31, to offensive coordinator, the first time he’ll hold the position in the NFL. He’ll also call the plays.
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