As coaching vacancies open up across the league, we take a look at potential options to fill the position to turn struggling teams around. Former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell’s name has been thrown around, and he’s even landed a few interviews.
Who is Jim Caldwell?
Caldwell has been a coach on two Super Bowl-winning teams who began his tenure in the NFL in 2001. Previously, he had played at Iowa in the 1970s and made his way around the NCAA in various assistant and position coaching roles before coming on as the head coach of Wake Forest, where he remained from 1993 to 2000.
He then joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a quarterbacks coach for a year under Tony Dungy, and followed Dungy to the Colts the next season, where they won a Super Bowl in 2006. Caldwell was promoted to the head coaching position in 2009 and brought the Colts all the way to the Super Bowl, though they lost to the Saints in the final.
Fired from Indianapolis after a disastrous third season, Caldwell was quickly hired and promoted to offensive coordinator at the Baltimore Ravens. As OC, he helped lead Baltimore to a Super Bowl win. Between 2014 and 2017, he was the head coach of the Detroit Lions, and went 36–28. He had a short stint with the Dolphins in 2019.
Why would he make a good head coach?
It’s been a few years since Caldwell was in the league, but his track record as an offensive coordinator and as a head coach speak for themselves. He led the Colts to a Super Bowl in his first year as a head coach, and he made the playoffs in four of his seven years as a head coach. He’s a highly experienced offensive mind, and he would be a safe option for any team looking to start turning things around.
Which teams are interviewing him?
The Panthers have some solid tools at their disposal and will likely draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 draft. This could be a similar situation to his time with the Lions after Jim Schwartz left, when he turned them quickly around to a winning season.
Caldwell could potentially be the answer to the Broncos’ challenges. His experience as a QBs coach would be valuable to a team struggling to click with their quarterback. The Broncos have spent quite a bit of money on Russell Wilson and will be looking for an immediate return on their investment, and Caldwell is a safe and proven bet there.