The 7-9 Detroit Lions narrowly beat the 6-10 Chicago Bears 24-20 to finish 3rd in the division and a couple of games away from making the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford was 28 of 39 (71.795%) for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. The Lions offense managed only 67 yards rushing but the Lions defense did get 3 interceptions on Jay Cutler. It was definitely a team effort.
Now that the season is over all eyes turn towards the front office and the eventual hiring of a general manager, or at the very least, the confirmation of Sheldon White being named the permanent instead of temporary general manager. The only front office name I've heard that intrigues me is Duke Tobin the personnel director with the Cincinnati Bengals. His method to build a team is nearly identical to mine based I what I have read on him and I hope he is in the mix for GM for the Lions (note: I heard others talking about Hugh Jackson, Bengals OC, as a possible Lions HC candidate, that along with Duke Tobin intrigues me as well).
Once the GM situation is set, and as I have stated before, then the head coaching job can be addressed. Since Caldwell has 2 years remaining on his contract you can bet the Fords would like to find that their new GM would want to keep him on (as I'm sure it'll cost the Fords' between $8 and $12 million to fire him). Unfortunately, Caldwell has made a lot of in game errors that are hard to overlook, but many a fan is willing to overlook them if it means that Jim Bob Cooter can remain as the OC (most want Austin as the DC too, but word is he will be a hot item for head coaching jobs around the league). It's entirely possible a new head coach would be willing to keep Cooter on as the OC, but all this remains to be seen.
Speaking of Cooter, I charted the passing production of one Matthew Stafford for the entire season (this does not include any running plays of any kind). You will note that under Lomdardi Stafford was improved to around 65% completion percentage but under Cooter he further improved to 69%... even though his yardage was practically the same (on average per game). His TD to INT ratio was superb under Cooter though, as were the wins/losses, so it's no wonder fans are willing to put up with Caldwell if it means retaining Cooter. Anyway, here is my raw data for your review... I will be back with more team analysis in the near future.
2015 Lions Staffords Numbers
|Lombardi at OC|
|Cooter at OC|
Last Updated on 1/3/2016
After completing the blog to this point I realized there was a lot of other information already available and I wanted to include it in this blog so I am making an addition/correction entry as follows:
The Lions will be drafting in the 16th spot in the 2016 draft due to their strength of schedule and record of 7-9.
The Lions opponents for 2016 both home and away are now known, though the exact schedule won't be released until near the date of the draft. The opponents are:
Home: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams.
Away: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints.
The Lions DC Austin is being linked to head coaching interviews by Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns, and is likely to also be mentioned for any other head coaching vacancy.
I have one last note to impart on my readers, one that might perhaps change your opinion on whether to keep Caldwell and/or Austin or not. The Lions lost a game to the Packers due to a hail mary pass that wasn't defended properly if you recall, that swing in the score would've had the Packers at 9-7 and the Lions at 8-8, but the Lions would've owned the tie breaker against the Packers as they would've beat them twice this year. Add to that the ball that was illegally batted out of the end of the end zone in the Seahawks game, that apparently our HC didn't know was illegal and some say didn't argue it enough at the time, which may have allowed the Lions to win that game and they would be 9-7 and I do believe would have made the playoffs in the 2015 season at 9-7 as a wildcard team (and 2nd in the division). Yeah, in summary, a batted ball in the end zone and a hail mary pass prevented the Lions from making the playoffs in a year when they were "hot" as the playoffs approached (near as I can tell). I leave you to chew on that for a few days.