Jim Caldwell spoke to the media for roughly 18 minutes for his season-ending press conference on Monday.
Two things are very clear from that session:
- He's more interested in looking forward than back now that the 2015 season is over.
- He's continuing on as head coach until told otherwise.
What is Caldwell's mindset moving forward?
In simple terms, it's business as usual.
"Still working, still under contract and we'll do what we do," he said Monday.
Team president Rod Wood made it very clear after Sunday's game in Chicago that the permanent GM will have the final decision when it comes to the head coach.
The Lions began reaching out to GM candidates to set up interviews Monday, and are hoping to hire their man as soon as possible.
Caldwell and his staff met with the players Monday morning and up until the 1 p.m. team meeting. He and his staff plan to begin the evaluation portion of this offseason schedule and continue forward with their offseason schedule.
Was the 6-2 record the second half of the season a statement that things are heading in the right direction and a reason for Caldwell to stay?
"That's not my concern," Caldwell said. "We have a job to do. We do our job and we let the chips fall where they may."
Caldwell has said all along that he won't campaign for his job. He'll let his 18-14 record speak for itself. That record is the best in the first two years of any coach in team history.
He did acknowledge, however, that it's hard to finish an eight-game stretch to end the season 6-2.
"I'm proud of them," he said of his players. "It might have been (John) Kennedy who said, 'victory has many fathers, but defeat is an orphan.'
"I think our guys measured up and took responsibility, like we all have, for the things we didn't do well. There were a number of things we didn't do well, but I think, also, you have to give those guys credit for the things they did do well this latter half of the season."
**What are some things Caldwell can look back on and be proud of?
There were four things in particular he pointed out Monday. He spoke about the way Stafford played the second half of the season (19 TDs vs. 2 INTs) in Jim Bob Cooter's system.
He raved about Cooter's ability to adjust on the fly and get these players to learn a new scheme and play well within it.
He also mentioned the way the defense was able to stop the run for the most part of the second half and how they finished in the top 10 in the NFL in sacks (42).
What does the future hold for defensive coordinator Teryl Austin?
Caldwell confirmed that Austin will interview for the Cleveland Browns head-coaching vacancy this week and there are "several" other teams he's dealing with at this point.
What are his qualifications to receive one of those jobs?
"I think from the first time I met him it took all of about three months to see this guy was a little bit different than the norm," Caldwell said.
View the best stylized images from the Lions' Week 17 game at Chicago from team photographer Gavin Smith. For more visit http://www.gavinsmithphoto.com/.
Austin was a graduate assistant with Caldwell at Penn State in the early 1990s. When Caldwell got the head-coaching job at Wake Forest, he took Austin with him.
"I could see the promise," Caldwell said. "I could see that he was going to be exceptional."
They parted ways after three seasons at Wake Forest. Austin moved on to Syracuse, but reunited with Caldwell in Baltimore with the Ravens a few years back.
"I know a lot of people doubted him here because of the fact that he hadn't had any experience in terms of calling defenses in this league, but the fact of the matter is, the cream always rises to the top," Caldwell said of Austin.
"He'll be an exceptional head coach, he's a motivator, he's very, very good strategically, technically in terms of football. He knows football inside and out, and it's not like he hasn't been around. He's been around a little bit."
Who would potentially replace Austin as DC in Detroit if he gets a HC job somewhere else?
This is not the first year that Austin's been out interviewing, so this is not the first time Caldwell has had to think about it, but he wasn't about to spill his plans to the media.
"We're not going to share with you what we think or what we're going to do, so you understand that part of it, but yeah, it's not something that we just all of a sudden, 'Oh, what? He got a job? What are we going to do about it?'"