By: Will Burchfield
A year ago, Bob Quinn had yet to meet Jim Caldwell. Caldwell impressed the Lion’s rookie general manager over the next 12 months to the extent that he was invited back for the 2017 season.
“Every day Jim is really very consistent and I really enjoyed working with him,” Quinn said on Thursday in his first meeting with local media since the 2016 Draft. “I really enjoyed the day-to-day interactions that we have, which are multiple. I mean, the rug between my office and his office gets worn out between the two of us (because) it’s a really great working relationship.”
The Lions announced last week that Caldwell will return in 2017 for the fourth and final year of his contract. Despite the team losing its final four games and flaming out in the first round of the playoffs, Quinn confirmed he is “absolutely” comfortable with his decision to retain the Lions’ head coach.
“I really have a great feel in being able to see him deal with the team, starting back with the OTAs, training camp and into the season. It’s a consistent message. I really think that’s what you need as a head coach,” Quinn said. “You can’t have a head coach that’s too high or too low. I really believe in his approach to managing the team, how he practices the team, how he maintains the health of the team.
“Listen, winning nine games is good. It’s not good enough, but I felt really comfortable with the way things went this year and I’m looking forward to 2017 with Jim.”
Caldwell said at his season-ending press conference on Monday that his goal every year is to win the Super Bowl — no ifs, ands or buts about it. Quinn echoed this sentiment on Thursday, and expressed confidence in Caldwell to lead the Lions there.
“Jim has a tremendous amount of experience. He was a Super Bowl-winning coach in Indianapolis, he has a great feel for the team, he’s very well-rounded,” said Quinn. “You watched him at practice…he can coach any position on the team.
“And the other good thing (is) he lets his coaches coach. He’s not a micromanager. He does a great job implementing what he thinks will work for the team that week. His coaches coach, he oversees and I think that’s a really great way to run a football team.”
Asked, given his faith in Caldwell, why he hasn’t signed the coach to a contract extension, Quinn replied, “I never said we weren’t extending him.” He then clarified that such conversations are – and will remain – confidential.
Nevertheless, Quinn was pleased with the progress the Lions made in 2016 and the role that Caldwell played in it.
“Thinking back over the last 12 months, I thought we had really productive year of building the team, building the culture that Coach Caldwell and I want to create in this building,” said Quinn. “I think there’s still a lot of work to do. Nine wins is a good season, (but) it’s not nearly good enough for what we want.
“We have one goal. Jim said it and I can’t put it into better words than what Jim said earlier in the week: There’s only one team that’s happy at the end of the season. I mean, that’s the bottom line…So our goals are higher and we’re going to work hard to achieve those goals.”