His interview over, Jim Caldwell spoke with John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, and began to rave.
“I did talk extensively with Jim and he was totally, totally feeling good about what was happening,” Wooten told ESPN.com this afternoon in a phone interview. “He said it was the best professional interview he’s ever had.
While this doesn’t mean Caldwell will get the Detroit job -- the team is still expected to interview other candidates -- Caldwell did meet with a lot of people during his day-long meeting with the team.
Besides meeting with general manager Martin Mayhew, team president Tom Lewand and the rest of the personnel staff, Wooten said Caldwell met with Detroit vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Wooten said, based on what Caldwell told him, those meetings likely lasted at least an hour each. Initially, Mayhew told reporters Monday that Stafford would not be involved in the coaching search, although Stafford has said he wouldn’t mind being able to give his input.
Stafford’s involvement in the process was first reported by National Football Post.
To prepare for his presentation with the Lions, Wooten said Caldwell watched every game the Lions played last season. This wasn’t too difficult, though, because the Lions and Ravens played in Week 15, so Caldwell still had his scouting reports from that game available.
“Just overall organization,” Wooten said Caldwell presented. “What he knows, first of all, he had looked at all their tapes because in the NFL, everyone gets everybody’s tapes so he looked at all the tapes and he knew the personnel inside out because they had played, so he had his scout report already set up, that was already done.
“And what he saw. I can’t really get into that with you, but what needs to be corrected and how it would be corrected and how he would go about approaching it, in terms of things he felt could turn this club into a winning culture.”
Wooten also said, because of Caldwell’s knowledge of the staff, he would consider keeping two or three members of Detroit’s current staff on with him. Wooten declined to say which staff members Caldwell would retain. Wooten did say that Caldwell would like to bring Teryl Austin, the Baltimore secondary coach, with him as his defensive coordinator should he be hired. Austin has one year of experience as a defensive coordinator with the University of Florida in 2010. Caldwell’s interest in Austin as his defensive coordinator was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.
Caldwell left the interview feeling good about the entire process. He told Wooten that the Lions informed him they would get back to him in a few days about where things stand with the process.
“I think he’s in a very good position,” Wooten said. “I think that they still have other guys, I don’t know all the other people who are coming in, but they know this guy can do what needs to be done.
“That they need this kind of temperament and organization.”