Jim Caldwell not in a hurry to find an offensive coordinator

Posted Jan 20, 2014

Caldwell said he's still in the process of interviewing candidates and finding the right philosophy that fits

Jim CaldwellPhoto: Gavin Smith/Detroit Lions

Within days of accepting the Detroit Lions head coaching position, Jim Caldwell had an assistant head coach (Ron Prince) and a defensive coordinator (Teryl Austin) in place.

Filling the offensive coordinator position continues to be an ongoing process, however.

"We're still in the interview process just trying to talk to guys about philosophy and trying to narrow it down as much we can," Caldwell said Monday night.

Both Caldwell and general manager Martin Mayhew didn't want to mention who the Lions have interviewed for the position or who might be a candidate, but both made it clear they wouldn't rush to fill the spot. Instead, they're concerned with finding the right man, coach and scheme to take an already potent offense and make it a more consistent one.

"We're taking our time and we're just not going to be in a real big hurry," said Caldwell, who's been an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach his entire NFL coaching career.

"One of the things we're just trying to make certain we have a guy who has a real good sense of system just in terms of offensive football and the installation and application of it. That he's a good communicator -- that's extremely important -- and that he's real good just in terms of teaching fundamentals."

Caldwell said in a radio interview with Matt Shepard on 1130 AM last week he was looking for an "innovative" offensive mind to be the man in charge of coordinating quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson and all the other weapons the Lions have on the offensive side of the football. He defined exactly what he meant on Monday.

"Innovation, obviously, doesn't limit itself to one type of system," he said. "It's being able to implement and execute a variety of different schemes and I think that's the thing I think you have to be able to do within this league."

Caldwell and the Lions want to be thorough in this process, but it does have one small drawback. Part of being down at the Senior Bowl is finding college seniors entering the draft who might fit a scheme.

The Lions obviously have an idea of the offense they want to run under Caldwell, but some of the nuances like one-back vs. two-back sets and how to attack a nickel defense are some of the small things the Lions don't have in place yet.

"It's certainly better to have it all in sync, which is why I talked about the value of continuity over the last three or four years," Mayhew said. "When you have that, and you know what you're looking for and exactly what's important to you, there's a lot of benefit to having it set up that way.

"Fortunately, it's January and the draft is in April. Those questions will be answered by the time we start picking players."