Lions fire Jim Caldwell after four seasons, could target Patriots' coordinators

In a move that was expected, the Lions have fired Jim Caldwell. He leaves Detroit after four seasons, two playoff appearances and a 36-28 record. General manager Bob Quinn informed Caldwell that he wouldn't be back even though Caldwell has the highest winning percentage (.556) for a Lions coach since Earl Clark won 63.6 percent of his games in 1937-1938. 

Caldwell was 0-2 in the postseason and the fact that the team couldn't make the playoffs in 2017, despite the Packers being without Aaron Rodgers, likely played a part in his dismissal. 

Quinn, who was hired in January 2016, arrived from New England where he was the director of pro scouting. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has spoken highly of Quinn.

"I can't say enough good things about Bob and what he did for our organization and what he did for me personally," the coach said last February. ... "I really appreciate everything that he did with our organization for 16 years," Belichick said. "That is a long time. He was instrumental in putting together things we did in the personnel department. Also on a personal basis, I have asked Bob to do things. He did a great job of preparing us for our upcoming opponent, or as I said, doing special projects as it related to the opponent."

So it should come as no surprise that Quinn is expected to look to the two Patriots' coordinators as possible coaching candidates: Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia. But given the expected job openings, both men could be in high demand. One thing the Lions have that other teams looking for a head coach don't: A franchise quarterback. Matthew Stafford ranked 10th in total value among all passers this season, according to Football Outsiders. Whoever succeeds Caldwell needs to find a running game for Stafford, and shore up a defense that was dominant in 2014 but has been replacement-level or worse in the three years since.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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