Chandler’s Cross, England — Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Monday he didn’t consult with the Ford family before firing three coaches on his staff.
“I haven’t spoken with them, but I’m sure they’re supportive,” he said.
But, Caldwell didn’t make the decision alone. Asked specifically about how much input general manager Martin Mayhew had in the dismissal of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan, Caldwell provided a bit more insight Wednesday.
“I’m in control of what happens with our staff. I make all those decisions, but it doesn’t mean I don’t consult with people,” Caldwell said at The Grove, the luxury resort where the team is staying at it prepares for Sunday’s game in London against the Kansas City Chiefs (9:30 a.m., FOX).
“Let’s put it this way: It’s idiotic to think that I went along and made some moves without telling anybody above me. It doesn’t happen that way.”
Hours before the team officially announced the firings, Caldwell said at noon Monday he had no imminent plans to make staff changes. However, he said multiple times that he was still in the evaluation process, one that led him to his decision to fire the three men.
“It’s a production league; it happens with everybody,” Caldwell said, describing his message to the players. “One of the things that the difficult side of it is that it’s highly visible. It’s high risk and high reward, and it’s not always pretty.”
Caldwell, though, has experienced the benefit of a mid-season staff change. In 2012, the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and promoted Caldwell to offensive coordinator in December. Baltimore won the Super Bowl that season, but Caldwell downplayed the importance of the coaching change.
“I think you had a group of guys that decided to play better than they had been playing,” he said. “That’s as simple as I can state it because it wasn’t anything magical, plain and simple.”
The Lions hope that will be the case, obviously. During the team’s 1-6 start, players and coaches pointed to poor execution more than poor scheming, but perhaps a different scheme can help the team execute better.
No matter how Caldwell reached the decision, be it with the input of Mayhew or president Tom Lewand, the players realize that the coach had to make the choice he thought was right.
“He’s the head man of this team,” defensive end Jason Jones said, according to a transcript provided by the team. “He made the decision for our team. He always makes decisions that are best for our team.”