By: Will Burchfield
All signs point to Jim Caldwell being fired on Monday, but the Lions head coach isn’t resigned to that fate.
Asked on Sunday what he’s most proud of during his four-year tenure in Detroit, Caldwell said, “I think there’s some thing’s that got done, but I’m not done yet. We’ll see.”
The Lions finished 9-7 for the second consecutive season, but weren’t able to sneak into the playoffs like last year. Caldwell is under contract through 2018 with team options beyond that, an extension he signed last offseason, but it’s believed he needed to improve upon last season in order to keep his job.
But Caldwell said he has not received such an indication from general manager Bob Quinn.
“I’m still working today,” he said. “If there was something that changed I wouldn’t be standing here, right?”
Asked if he’ll be present at Monday’s end-of-season press conference, Caldwell flatly said, “I have no idea.”
Over four seasons, Caldwell compiled a 36-28 record and made the playoffs twice, losing in the wild card round each time. The Lions seemed to have a golden opportunity this season to win their first division title since 1993 given their 3-1 start and the Packers’ loss of Aaron Rodgers, but they couldn’t capitalize.
That will likely spell the end for Caldwell, who said he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll meet with Quinn to determine his future.
“We have an evaluation we get rolling sometime here this week, so we’ll see,” he said.
Asked if he’ll make a case to keep his job — he’s the team’s winningest coach in the Super Bowl era, after all — Caldwell suggested he’ll let his record speak for itself.
“Have you ever heard me defend (myself) or anything? It’s not just to you, it’s not to anybody. I don’t make any excuses. That’s just not the way I live my life. We go out, we do what we do and let everybody make an assessment from there. What’s the real assessment is wins. Wins and losses, that’s the key,” Caldwell said.
Lions players have long vouched for Caldwell, and their performance in Sunday’s 35-11 win over the Packers spoke loudly. They played inspired football in a game with effectively no meaning. That’s not always the case when a coach appears to be on his way out.
In typical fashion, Caldwell deflected the praise to his players.
“It’s more about them, it’s not about me. That’s the thing you have to understand,” he said. “You guys (the media) focus in on the wrong thing often times. It’s not about me. It’s about our team, it’s about our players and how they play together, it’s about our fan base, our ownership and trying to get done the things that we want to get done: Winning a championship here. Those are the things that matter.
“Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”