WEEK IN REVIEW: Lions begin transition toward a new head coach

Posted Jan 4, 2014

After letting go of Jim Schwartz one day following the conclusion of the regular season, the Lions front office begins the search for the next in command

Tom Lewand and Martin MayhewPresident Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew met with the media following the firing of Jim Schwartz on Monday. (Photo: Detroit Lions)

The week following the 2013 regular season was a difficult one for the Detroit Lions organization.

Jim Schwartz was relieved of his head coaching duties the day after the team's regular season finale at Minnesota and, as president Tom Lewand said, letting someone go is never a cut-and-dry task.

"It is never easy and as much as the focus is on making this a consistently winning football team, you cannot lose sight of the human element," he said during his joint press conference with general manager Martin Mayhew.

"Our families are friends, our wives are friends, our kids are friends and that's a difficult day in any situation. It's not often that somebody gets let go and they have television cameras and the media world paying attention to it."

Also let go were offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and wide receivers coach Tim Lappano.

"At this point in time, most of our other assistants are under contract for 2014," said Lewand on Monday. "There are a couple whose contracts expire at the end of January. We have been in touch with each of our coaches, but as of right now they are all under contract of the Detroit Lions."

As tough of a day as Monday was, the organization has since turned the page toward looking for a new head coach to lead the Lions in 2014.

"Both Lewand and Mayhew credited Schwartz with taking over a terrible situation in 2009 coming off an 0-16 season and turning it into a contender," said senior writer Tim Twentyman on Monday.

"But in the end, none of the Ford Family, Lewand or Mayhew felt Schwartz was the right coach to lead the organization over the next hump."


  • Lewand and Mayhew have a specific profile laid out when it comes to who the next head coach of the Detroit Lions will be.
  • "It is a mentality. It has to be a belief that no matter what's happening, you have an opportunity to win. You can't put yourself in a situation where you get a fatalistic attitude or you get the belief that you can't get over the hump, so to speak," said Mayhew. "I think that's something that will need to be addressed in terms of the coach of our football team."
  • One thing spoken with a great deal of conviction on Monday was that the Lions' head coaching vacancy is by far the most attractive in the NFL right now.
  • "I can verify that by the number of calls we have already gotten since the announcement was made at Noon," said Lewand.
  • Even Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy agreed while on the nationally-syndicated Dan Patrick Show.
  • "That's the job I would want," he said. "I think they are the closest to the Super Bowl."
  • What fans want to know is who is in the running for the most attractive NFL job right now. As of Saturday, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith -- someone whose name had been thrown around as a possibility in Detroit -- had already accepted the job in Tampa Bay.
  • Current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, however, did fly in to interview with the organization.
  • "This is an unusual situation because of the fact that you don't typically walk into a place that has a talented quarterback, one of the best receivers in all the game and just a fine nucleus," Caldwell told's Twentyman.
  • "Then a defense that has an extremely talented front four. I saw them up close and personal (Week 15)."
  • Whether it's Caldwell or someone else, there are clear-cut expectations for the next Detroit Lions head coach: he will be expected to get the very most out of quarterback Matthew Stafford, will be expected to win immediately and will unequivocally have to have total command over the coaches and players.
  • Whenever there is a coaching change at the top, there is inevitable fallout in terms of personnel. columnist Mike O'Hara takes a look at how the roster as it stands now could be affected.