Reports: Caldwell emerges as favorite for Lions job (Caldwell hired)

Jim Caldwell could be on the cusp of returning to the NFL’s head coaching ranks.

The Ravens offensive coordinator has emerged as the favorite to become the Lions’ new coach after Ken Whisenhunt spurned Detroit for the Tennessee job, according to multiple reports.

Caldwell is said to have had a strong interview with the Lions and would bring an impressive resume with him. He went 26-22 in three seasons as Colts head coach, winning the AFC South in each of his first two years, going a combined 24-8 during that time. In 2009, Caldwell’s first season leading Indianapolis, the team went 14-2 and reached the Super Bowl.

Caldwell has also been a part of two Super Bowl winners. The Colts won Super Bowl XLI with him serving as quarterbacks coach and the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII with him serving as offensive coordinator.

But it hasn’t all been positive for Caldwell.

The big negative from his time in Indy is that he was unable to lead the team to success without Peyton Manning, as the Colts went 2-14 when the star quarterback missed all of 2011, costing Caldwell his job.

In 2013, the Ravens offense had a dreadful year with Caldwell leading the unit, finishing 29th in total yards and 30th in rushing.

But Caldwell has an excellent reputation for developing quarterbacks and being a level-headed coach, which could be just what the Lions need. So it seems he’s the frontrunner to take over for Jim Schwartz in Detroit, and it’s possible he has a new job by the end of the day.

Update: It’s a done deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Caldwell has been hired as the 25th coach in Lions history, leaving the Ravens in search of their third offensive coordinator in three seasons.

Many pundits have opined that this could be just what the Ravens wanted, as they hadn’t been completely clear that they wanted Caldwell back after finishing with one of the league’s worst offenses this season.

The next step will be to see if any members of coach John Harbaugh’s staff join Caldwell in Detroit and then get to work on filling out the 2014 staff.