Jim Caldwell

This Date In Transactions History: Lions Hire Matt Patricia

In 2017, Jim Caldwell led the Lions to their third winning campaign in four seasons. It wasn’t enough to save his job. The Lions fired Caldwell and replaced him with Patriots defensive guru Matt Patricia, three years ago today. 

Patricia had lots of hype heading into this cycle. He also had a longstanding relationship with Detroit GM Bob Quinn, who previously worked in New England. After working his way up through the Pats’ ranks, Patricia served as their DC for six seasons. During that period, the Patriots’ defense never ranked lower than tenth in points allowed. And, of course, his final day with the team nearly ended in yet another Super Bowl ring, before Nick Foles got in the way.

It seems like just yesterday that Patricia was regarded as the perfect fit. It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change in the NFL. After a combined 13-29 record and an ugly Thanksgiving Day loss, the Lions sent the 46-year-old packing. Now, he’s going back to New England to serve in multiple assistant coaching roles on Bill Belichick‘s staff. Meanwhile, the Lions are moving forward with Dan Campbell, who will have Jared Goff leading his offense.

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Texans Interview Jim Caldwell, Josh McCown For HC Job

The NFL’s last remaining head coaching search took another interesting turn Friday. While the Texans have contacted former Colts and Lions HC Jim Caldwell about their vacancy, they also announced they spoke with Josh McCown about the opening Friday as well.

This marks Caldwell’s second interview for the job. The former Lions and Colts HC spoke with the Texans in December, but the team’s search took on a different tone after Nick Caserio‘s GM hire.

McCown began this season with Eagles, residing as the NFL’s oldest practice squad player and operating as a remote emergency quarterback, but signed with the Texans in November. The 41-year-old QB would be one of the most unorthodox choices in modern NFL history, but the Texans are exploring the prospect of hiring McCown and pairing him with at least one former head coach, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

The 19-year veteran has been viewed as a future coach and is interesting under contract with the Texans through 2021. The team viewed the well-regarded backup as a culture-type signing and a player who could help as a coach immediately after retirement. This would certainly spark debate, however. While players jumping straight into HC roles has happened in the NBA — like Jason Kidd or Derek Fisher — McCown would be a controversial hire considering the NFL’s current imbalance between white and minority head coaches.

McCown’s previous plan was to spend time watching his sons play football after retirement. A leap into a head coaching position would certainly change his schedule. And making such a move before gaining any experience as an assistant would represent a risk for McCown. That said, the 49ers hired John Lynch as GM without experience and paired him with Kyle Shanahan. The 49ers won the NFC in that regime’s third year. Of course, this backfired with Matt Millen in Detroit.

A McCown hire would run beyond the “outside the box” label, but this is now something to monitor for a Texans team that began the week interviewing popular HC candidate Eric Bieniemy. The Texans remain interested in Colts DC Matt Eberflus, whom the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin notes (via Twitter) is a frontrunner for the job. Houston has interviewed eight candidates for the position. Eberflus initially declined an interview request but met with Nick Caserio and Co. on Sunday.

Caldwell (feat. Peyton Manning) coached the Colts to a Super Bowl in his first season as Indianapolis’ HC but was out of a job after his third. Caldwell elevated the Lions to a playoff berth in his first year with Detroit in 2014 but was fired after a 9-7 2017 season. The 66-year-old coach experienced a health issue that caused him to step away from his post as Dolphins QBs coach in 2019, but he is back to full health and would certainly represent an experienced right-hand man for McCown or another younger coach.

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Texans Interview Jim Caldwell For HC Opening

The Texans are ramping up their search for Bill O’Brien’s replacement. Houston completed an interview with former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell for their vacancy, the team announced Monday.

Caldwell was the coach in Detroit for four seasons from 204-17. After spending 2018 out of football he agreed to become an assistant head coach with the Dolphins, but then took a leave of absence for medical reasons. We heard in December of last year that he was back to full health and looking to coach again, but he didn’t sign anywhere this offseason. Caldwell succeeded Tony Dungy as Colts coach, and held that position for three seasons from 2009-11, but was fired after a 2011 season where Indy went just 2-14 with Peyton Manning missing the entire year with neck issues.

Caldwell has a 62-50 record as head coach, although as Mike Garafolo of NFL Network pointed out in a tweet it’s 60-36 if you take out the year where the Colts essentially tanked for Andrew Luck. In his first season in Detroit Caldwell went 11-5 and made the playoffs. He went 9-7 each of his last two years with the Lions, making the playoffs again in 2016.

Detroit brass decided that wasn’t good enough and that Caldwell wasn’t the one to get them over the hump, and obviously we’ve all seen what’s happened there since he left. A highly regarded offensive coach with plenty of big time experience, it always seemed like only a matter of time before Caldwell got another shot. He spent a couple of decades in the college ranks before jumping to the pros as an assistant under Dungy with the Buccaneers in 2001.

The Texans are in an interesting spot, as obviously O’Brien was their coach as well as GM. The team recently interviewed ESPN analyst Louis Riddick for the GM opening. We’ve heard that Texans owner Cal McNair wants Deshaun Watson to have input on who the next head coach is, so what the young quarterback thinks of Caldwell could determine whether or not he has a real shot at the gig.

Interim GM Jack Easterby is proving to be a divisive figure, but recent reports indicate he’ll have a large role in determining the next head coach and GM as well. To say this is a pivotal offseason for the franchise would be a massive understatement, and it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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Coaching Rumors: Giants, Caldwell, Browns

Joe Judge‘s first Giants staff will feature Jason Garrett overseeing the offense and Jerry Schuplinski as quarterbacks coach. The Giants are hiring the former Patriots and Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post notes. Brian Flores could have blocked the move but opted not to. This will be Schuplinski’s first stint as a franchise’s top quarterbacks coach. He and Garrett have not worked together, but Judge and Schuplinski coached together in New England from 2013-18. The latter’s NFL career began in 2013, after he spent 13 years coaching at alma mater John Carroll, a Cleveland-area high school (Trinity) and Cleveland-based Division III college Case Western Reserve. Schuplinski helped Ryan Fitzpatrick to some surprising performances this season, given the offensive line and backfield situation with which the veteran quarterback was saddled, and will now play a key role in developing Daniel Jones.

Here is the latest from the coaching world:

  • With Bill Callahan set to become the Browns’ offensive line coach, the Giants’ search to fill this position continues. The team will bring in longtime Garrett assistant Marc Colombo for an interview, Jordan Raanan and Todd Archer of ESPN.com report (on Twitter). Colombo will interview on Tuesday, per Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. Given that Colombo worked under Garrett from 2016-19 as Cowboys assistant O-line coach and then O-line coach, it would seem the ex-Cowboys lineman has a good chance of landing this job. The Giants had Callahan on their radar and also interviewed former Judge Pats coworker Dave DeGuglielmo for the position.
  • After taking a leave of absence from Flores’ staff before the season began, Dolphins assistant Jim Caldwell did not coach during the team’s season. And the former Colts and Lions HC will not return to the Dolphins’ staff, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com notes. Caldwell, who stepped away for medical reasons, is back to full health and wants to coach again. He was recently mentioned in connection to the Eagles’ OC job.
  • A Joe WoodsBrowns partnership looks to be on hold for the time being. While the former Broncos DC and current 49ers secondary coach is expected to become the next Browns DC, no agreement is expected until Super Bowl LIV’s conclusion, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Woods and incumbent Steve Wilks were vying for the job, and Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirms a Woods-over-Wilks has been made.
  • The Browns will retain run-game coordinator Stump Mitchell, Cabot adds. Serving as running backs coach under Freddie Kitchens, Mitchell helped Nick Chubb to 1,494 rushing yards. Chubb’s seven 100-yard games were the most any Browns back has compiled in 51 years, matching Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly‘s 1968 total.
  • Kevin Stefanski is also considering retaining DBs coach DeWayne Walker, per Cabot. Walker is a holdover from the Hue Jackson staffs, initially joining the Browns in 2017 after four years as the Jaguars’ secondary coach.

Eagles To Consider Jim Caldwell, Kevin O’Connell For OC Job?

Searching for a new offensive coordinator for the second time in three years, the Eagles are likely to look outside the organization to replace Mike Groh. Candidates with disparate backgrounds are emerging.

Former Colts and Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and 2019 Redskins OC Kevin O’Connell have surfaced as candidates, Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets.

Doug Pederson canned Groh despite the Eagles’ late-season showing with a skeleton-crew offense, and with the team not preparing to promote quarterbacks coach Press Taylor, it opens the door to the prospect of an outside hire taking over. The Eagles do, however, have Duce Staley in place as assistant head coach and running backs instructor. He could conceivably be a candidate, though the team opted to promote Groh over him for the post Frank Reich vacated two years ago.

After the Lions fired Caldwell following a four-year tenure, he resurfaced in Miami on Brian Flores‘ staff. But a medical issue forced the 64-year-old coach to take a leave of absence shortly after accepting that role. Caldwell, however, received clearance to resume coaching recently. He has seven seasons’ worth of experience as HC — one of those producing an AFC championship season in Indianapolis — and was promoted to Ravens OC late in their 2012 Super Bowl season.

The Redskins opted to reunite Ron Rivera with Scott Turner, the latter replacing O’Connell as their offensive coordinator. Like Groh, O’Connell dealt with an ever-changing offensive core. But Washington ranked 30th in offensive DVOA last season. Still, O’Connell has been connected to the Browns and Rams, with the Cleveland connection potentially hinging on whether the franchise hires Josh McDaniels.

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Jim Caldwell Back To Full Health

Coach Jim Caldwell is back to full health, Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman Rod Graves told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). Caldwell joined the Dolphins’ staff in January but took a medical leave in July.

This year, Caldwell is once again on the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s list to be a head coaching candidate. It’s not clear if he’ll garner interest as a head coach, but he has the support of Dolphins HC Brian Flores.

He’s been a great coach for a long time. He’s someone who’s been a mentor, someone I can bounce ideas off the entire season,” Flores told reporters on Friday. “Great coach and he would be very worthy of a head coach in this league. I’ll say that over and over and over again.”

For what it’s worth, Caldwell does want to return to the sidelines in 2020, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. La Canfora does expect Caldwell to get some consideration from teams looking for an HC.

Caldwell has been coaching since 1977, and he’s held NFL gigs since 2001. He had a three-year stint as the head coach of the Colts that included a Super Bowl appearance. Caldwell later moved on to become the head coach of the Lions, and he compiled a 36-28 record during his four years in Detroit. Since then, he’s had a handful of head coaching interviews, including talks with the Packers, Jets, and Browns.

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Dolphins Coach Jim Caldwell Taking Leave Of Absence

Dolphins assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell will be taking a leave of absence to focus on his health, the team announced in a press release this morning.

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said. “I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

The Dolphins will still keep the 64-year-old on board, as Caldwell will serve as a consultant to the team for the upcoming season. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Jerry Schuplinski, a former Patriots assistant, will likely take on many of Caldwell’s duties.

“Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can,” said head coach Brian Flores. “With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”

Caldwell has been coaching since 1977, and he’s held NFL gigs since 2001. He had a three-year stint as the head coach of the Colts that included a Super Bowl appearance. Caldwell later moved on to become the head coach of the Lions, and he compiled a 36-28 record during his four years in Detroit.

Caldwell had a handful of head coaching interviews this past offseason, including talks with the Packers, Jets, and Browns. After Flores was hired in Miami, Caldwell was brought in as an assistant.

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Dolphins Hire Jim Caldwell

The Dolphins have officially announced Jim Caldwell as their assistant head coach/QBs coach. Interestingly, their press release did not mention the hiring of Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, a move that has been expected over the last week. 

Caldwell, the former Colts and Lions head coach, interviewed with the Browns, Cardinals, and Jets this offseason for their head coaching vacancies. The Lions made the postseason twice during Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit. And, with the Colts, his teams went 26-22 with one AFC title and two divisional championships.

New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores does not have previous head coaching experience, but Caldwell can provide valuable counsel for him in his first year at the helm.

Capers, 68, recently turned down the Bengals’ DC job, leading many to believe that he would be sign on for the same role in Miami. As of this moment, that has not happened.

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Coaching Rumors: Vikings, Kubiak, Dolphins

Here are the latest coaching rumors from around the NFL:

  • The Vikings are in play for Gary Kubiak, according to Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The OC job is already occupied by Kevin Stefanski, but Kubiak could work with him on that side of the ball. Kubiak’s son, Klint, was on the Vikings’ staff in 2013-14 and worked with Stefanski during that time, so there’s some degree of familiarity there.
  • Jim Caldwell is expected to join the Dolphins‘ staff in some capacity, though it won’t necessarily be as offensive coordinator, Albert Breer of The MMQB hears. The Dolphins could go with a younger coordinator and have Caldwell serve in a mentor-type role, but Caldwell could also don the headset after Miami missed out on guys like Greg Roman and Kliff Kingsbury.
  • Christopher Johnson says the report the Jets tried to tell Matt Rhule or Mike McCarthy who to hire is completely untrue (Twitter link via Connor Hughes of The Athletic). If he is to be believed, then new head coach Adam Gase will have a good degree of freedom to fill out his staff. If you choose to believe the reports, then Gase will probably have to work off of a limited list of options provided by GM Mike Maccagnan and the rest of the front office.


Jets Interview Jim Caldwell

The Jets interviewed Jim Caldwell for the club’s head coaching vacancy, according to a team announcement. Caldwell most recently served as the Lions’ head coach from 2014-17, but also had a multi-year stint with the Colts. 

Caldwell has been on the Jets’ radar for a while now, but they did not solidify a scheduled time to meet until recently. Caldwell, admittedly, would not be the sexiest choice, but he would offer experience and likely would not seek total control over the 53-man roster. Many of the other names in this year’s pool may want that power, but ownership says that GM Mike Maccagnan will continue to have full authority over personnel.

The Lions made the postseason twice during Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit. And, with the Colts, his teams went 26-22 with one AFC title and two divisional championships.

The Jets previously announced completed interviews with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, and Cowboys defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard.

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