Barry Sanders: "We're not that far away"

Posted Feb 1, 2014

Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders says sometimes a coaching change can revitalize a football team

NEW YORK, NYBarry Sanders wasn’t necessarily calling for Jim Schwartz’s job after a second consecutive season of watching his beloved Detroit Lions collapse in the second half of the season, but the Hall of Fame running back says sometimes a change can revitalize a team.

Jim CaldwellHead coach Jim Caldwell (Photo: Gavin Smith)

"Obviously, a lot of Lions fans were looking for (a coaching change)," Sanders said Friday at the Super Bowl, where he was promoting the Hall of Fame fan fest.

"They wanted a change, and the guys in the room making the decision thought that was the case. And I can certainly see reasons why they would. I hope Coach Caldwell’s the guy."

Jim Caldwell, who spent three seasons as the Indianapolis head coach from 2009-11, leading the Colts to a Super Bowl over that span, has the kind of experience Sanders thinks is needed for a team ready to win now.

"Hey look, we’re hoping for great things," he said. "We know that we have a lot of firepower assembled on that team and certainly offensively.

"Hopefully Coach Caldwell can bring that offense to the top of the league and bring it all together. We’re not that far away."

There’s no denying the Lions have a lot of weapons. The roster is set up for a quick turnaround. It just needs the right man to point it in the right direction.

"I think most coaches are much better their second time around," Sanders said of this being Caldwell’s second head coaching job. "I hope that’s the case for Coach Caldwell.