Good morning and ROOOAARRRRR!!!!
DETROIT -- He hung around until the very end. That's the first thing that stuck out to me about Jim Caldwell on Wednesday afternoon.
When covering various hirings of various coaches and athletic directors on the college level in the past, the subject of the new hire would stick around for a little while after to answer questions, but usually they'd be gone soon after the official news conference was over, whisked off to another spot to meet more people.
Caldwell hung around for at least an hour after everything was done. Was some of this public relations? Sure. But he answered similar questions over and over and was engaging, fiery and had emotion. Or, as Detroit Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. put it, the perception and reality of Caldwell are two different things.
None of the positive first impressions mean anything as of today. It's about building a staff and winning games. Those two things -- not the endorsements he received or his ability to be an engaging speaker -- will be the barometer of his success or failure in Detroit.
Some other small nuggets about Caldwell:
He'll run a 4-3 defense, as expected. This is something that was stressed by GM Martin Mayhew on the day the team fired coach Jim Schwartz. That is just where their personnel is right now. It hasn't been official, but Teryl Austin has been the name linked to being his defensive coordinator since the day he interviewed in Detroit.
Offensively, he didn't want to get into too much scheme, but did say the Lions would be more "one-back than we are a two-back" with the ability to audible (everyone does this at the NFL level, though). This isn't shocking considering the Lions' personnel, but don't be surprised if Detroit carries a fullback on the roster. Caldwell had a fullback in Indianapolis in 2011 and in Baltimore last season. He had no fullback in 2009 or 2010. Of course, Montell Owens could end up being a fullback if the Lions need that in their current roster.
Caldwell quoted Bible passages multiple times, quoted former Michigan football coach Fielding H. Yost and John Wooden on Wednesday. This is what he said as part of the Wooden quote: "He said you should never mistake activity for achievement. I believe that." Again, this doesn't mean much, just interesting.
And now, on to searching for Lions news from around the Interwebs:
Caldwell says he has the team to win now -- and plans on winning a championship in Detroit. Five things he has to do to succeed. Caldwell doesn't talk staff, but does mention former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. One of the biggest things early on? The rapport between Caldwell and Matthew Stafford.
Team president Tom Lewand said Ndamukong Suh has interest in staying in Detroit long term. Calvin Johnson had knee and finger surgeries this offseason. The first Mel Kiper Jr. mock draft is out and he had the Lions taking Justin Gilbert. Why that makes sense.
Colleague Mike Sando writes why the Caldwell hire might actually work in Detroit.
Drew Sharp from the Detroit Free Press writes that Ford hopes Jim Caldwell is a hire like Alan Mulally, the successful Ford Motor Company CEO. Jeff Seidel from the Free Press writes that Caldwell is focused on accountability and discipline. Carlos Monarrez from the Free Press writes that Caldwell has 30 days to learn about the roster. A Lions player from the 1940s tells Matt Helms from the Free Press that it is time Detroit hired an African-American coach.
Dave Dye from FoxSports.cpm writes that Caldwell believes he can make Stafford elite.
Eric Thomas from CBS Detroit breaks down the news conference.