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Allen Park — Jim Caldwell seemed perturbed Monday about yet another question regarding his job security.

"You must be fixated on that or something, aren't you?" he said. "It must be of high importance to you. I don't think about it as much as you do. Seriously. Why even talk about it? What sense does it make?"

Well, Jim, it makes sense because what the Lions front office does with regards to your future will be among several key decisions this offseason that impact the franchise for years to come.

And the questions are timely, even if exhausting. When the Lions started 1-6 and Caldwell fired three assistants, his future was an obvious talking point. At 1-7 with the Lions firing the two executives that hired him, Caldwell's job security was again at the top of mind.

Now, after winning two straight amid the turmoil, Caldwell would have every right to feel more comfortable, but he interrupted before that part of the question could come out.

"I don't think about it, seriously," he said. "I don't. I don't talk about it. We do what we do. This is kind of the business that we've chosen, and what happens, happens."

And for Caldwell, that's the right approach because the coaches and players have to continue trying to win games to help their future, whether it's in Detroit or elsewhere.

But for the Lions, the decision about Caldwell shouldn't focus on what happens this season. Instead, the new general manager — who should make such a football-related decision instead of president Rod Wood — should treat Caldwell like a player.

If there's an opportunity to upgrade, take it. If not, keep Caldwell.

Now, plenty of Lions fans surely have already made up their mind about Caldwell. The supporters point to an 11-5 finish last year as Caldwell became the third first-year coach in franchise history to lead the Lions to the postseason, joining Bobby Ross and George Wilson.

Caldwell's detractors see a coach who struggles with clock management and blame him and his staff for the team starting 1-7 this year.

Both opinions are valid, but neither should matter.

Caldwell's ability to reach the players in the locker room shouldn't matter either because, no matter how much the current group respects him, a lot of those players won't be on the team in 2016.

The only thing that should matter to the next GM is whether or not Caldwell is the best coach the Lions could have next season. If he is, he should stay. If there's a better option, Caldwell should be gone.

And, please, don't assume hiring a new coach would be the sign of some massive rebuilding project. Teams thrive under new coaches all the time, and to suggest it takes players multiple years to adjust to a new scheme is nothing more than an excuse.

Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase will be a hot coaching candidate this offseason, but considering he's never been a head coach, there's no guarantee he'll be an upgrade, which could be said of any first-time head coach.

Really, unless the Lions have a way to hire some experienced coach like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher, the team won't know if a new coach would be an immediate improvement, which is a point in Caldwell's favor.

However, the amount of experience other coaches have shouldn't be the main question, just as the Lions asked the wrong questions when they hired Caldwell.

Former GM Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand were on a mission to find a coach who could help Matthew Stafford reverse his regression. That was faulty logic from the start because it eliminated any defensive-minded coach (Mike Zimmer, for instance), and clearly, hiring Caldwell didn't have the desired effect with regards to the franchise quarterback.

The only thing the Lions should want to know about their coach is if he can help the team win games. Caldwell, for the most part, did that in 2014 but hadn't done that in 2015 until the past couple of weeks — John Fox helped the Lions more than Caldwell in the win over the Bears.

There are plenty of other factors involved with keeping or releasing Caldwell, obviously. If the team fires him and can't keep defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, that might hurt more than it helps, for example.

Fortunately, Caldwell's future will become clear within the next couple of months, but until the team makes that decision, people will keep talking about it.

Around the NFC North

■The Packers (7-3) won in Minnesota to regain the top spot in the NFC North. Eddie Lacy running for 100 yards was a good sign for Green Bay's offense, and holding Adrian Peterson to 45 yards rushing was a better sign for the defense.

■The Vikings (7-3) are still in prime position for the postseason despite the loss. Their lackluster offensive line is starting to be a problem, though, as Teddy Bridgewater took 10 sacks the last two games.

■The Bears (4-6) continue to play teams close, but couldn't quite beat the Broncos in a 17-15 loss Sunday. Being that close without Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte is a sign Chicago is much better than people expected coming into the year.

Around the NFL

■The Cardinals (8-2) won a prime-time game against the Bengals, and with rookie J.J. Nelson having 142 receiving yards, Arizona showed just how deep its roster is.

■Add Jameis Winston to the list of quarterbacks that prove it doesn't take several years to adjust to the NFL. You either have it or you don't, and with five touchdowns against the Eagles, it looks like the Buccaneers rookie has it.

■Since beating the Lions in London, the Chiefs (5-5) have continued dominating teams, winning 29-13 over Denver last week and 33-3 over San Diego Sunday. With a four-game winning streak, Kansas City is an example of why teams shouldn't give up.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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