Frustrated former Lion Stephen Tulloch: 'We fired Caldwell for this?'

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Lions on Thursday entered their annual Thanksgiving Day game against the Chicago Bears with little hope, and even less of a mathematical chance at the playoffs.

A 24-20 loss officially ended postseason hopes for Year 2 of the Matt Patricia era, and as the former New England defensive coordinator’s record as head coach in Detroit moved to 9-18-1, former Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch opened up his Twitter account to question why former Lions coach Jim Caldwell was let go of in the first place.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia on the sidelines during the third quarter.

“We fired coach Caldwell for this @Lions?” Tulloch tweeted. “Time for a change ASAP. The fans deserve better.”

Tulloch played for the Lions from 2011-15, and retired in April 2017. He continues to participate in Lions alumni events.

Caldwell led the Lions to a 36-28 record from 2014-17 and was fired by Lions general manager Bob Quinn after consecutive 9-7 seasons, the reason being that Quinn had higher standards for his organization than competing for a spot in the wild-card round. But it’s now gone two consecutive seasons with a sub-.500 record, and this season, is instead competing for the top pick in next year’s draft.

The firing of Caldwell and hiring of Patricia in early 2018 was met with some discourse from players, many of whom preferred the old regime over their new one.

Tulloch, 34, a former defensive captain, isn’t the first person to voice frustrations with Patricia’s start in Detroit, but he is one of the first former players to do so.

As the Lions continue to slip further into another dismal season, it woulnd’t be surprising if Tulloch’s comments are just the start. With a winning percentage sitting under .250, Patricia has a mountain to climb before matching the standard set by his predecessor.

The standard that wasn’t “nearly good enough.”

Nolan Bianchi is a freelance writer.