The Detroit Lions went in a totally different direction with their new head coach, hiring Jim Caldwell to replace Jim Schwartz.
The Lions announced the hire on Tuesday afternoon, pulling the trigger on bringing in the Ravens offensive coordinator as the guy to take their franchise to the next level.
Detroit was rumored to be interested in Ken Whisenhunt (hired by the Titans) and Lovie Smith (hired by the Buccaneers) as well as former Titans coach Mike Munchak.
Ultimately they decided Caldwell is the guy who can come to Detroit and help elevate Matthew Stafford's game.
Caldwell has a good history with quarterbacks. He worked with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis for years before taking over as the Colts full-time coach following Tony Dungy's retirement. Caldwell took the Colts to the Super Bowl in 2009, where they lost to the Saints.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that Caldwell, the first interview for the Lions, "earned rave reviews and clicked with quarterback Matt Stafford."
Additionally, La Canfora reports that Caldwell spent time with Stafford's high school coach before the interview and broke down every throw he made in 2013. As for who could join Caldwell in Detroit, here are some names to watch:
As for Caldwell's offensive coordinator, strong buzz that Indy's QB coach Clyde Christensen would be top choice. Worked together with Colts— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
Ravens, besides Caldwell, could be losing another top assistant to the Lions - secondary coach Teryl Austin. Caldwell very high on him ...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
One other name I'm told will be on Jim Caldwell's offensive staff: Ron Prince.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 14, 2014
Along with Caldwell's work in Indy, he also won a Super Bowl ring as the offensive coordinator for the Ravens in 2012. Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron late in the season, right before Joe Flacco took off on his epic playoff run. Despite a putrid 2013 for Flacco and the Ravens offense, it's hard not to give Caldwell some of the credit for that run.
Caldwell was also the head coach at Wake Forest University in college, amassing a questionable 26-63 record in eight years (though he did take Wake to a bowl in 1999). In three years running the Colts, Caldwell was 26-22.
That run featured plenty of highs (the Super Bowl run) and plenty of lows (a two-win season in 2011 that ushered in the end of the Manning era).
Whether Caldwell can guide the Lions to the next level and make them a more consistent contender remains to be seen. But there's little question he'll be less of an emotional wild card than Schwartz.
As for who could replace Caldwell as OC of the Ravens, some names include former Browns coach Rob Chudzinksi.
Among the better external candidates could include Norv Turner, if he gets out of Browns contract, Rob Chudzinski, Ben McAdoo, Bill Lazor— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) January 14, 2014