How much do you think coaching matters? I mean truly makes a difference.
I hear people complain about hitting coaches all the time when it comes to Alex Avila's struggles, but no one wants to give them credit for J.D. Martinez.
I hear fans call for the firing of Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones because of the bullpen, but I never hear them give him kudos for the job he's done with Rick Porcello.
Well, some feel coaching is what prevented the Lions from reaching their potential.
If that's the case, Jim Caldwell can be hero here in Detroit.
Caldwell's demeanor and messages have been consistent. He expects his team to play a certain way and he is holding everyone accountable. Something I've noticed in talking with every Lions player during training camp is that they all mention their head coach and how they admire his approach.
In the past, players would only talk about the coach if they were asked about him. This year in camp, players bring up Caldwell without being asked. I
t's legitimate, too. Players seem inspired by Caldwell's various quotes and stories after team meetings. They are appreciative that their boss treats them like men and doesn't need to constantly cuss, demean or embarrass someone to get his point across.
Don't confuse that with a lack of intensity, though. He is intense, but in a different way than most. Reggie Bush says he each time he leaves a meeting with Caldwell it makes him want to be a better man.
I don't know if Caldwell's personality and tactics equate to more wins. For most, victories are all that matter. But if you believe that workers try harder because they respect their boss, then maybe you buy into players playing harder for someone they admire.
If that's the case, Caldwell has already made a massive difference with this team.
In the end, this club will need its best players to stay healthy and quarterback to make a leap to elite status. It will need to execute a more suitable offensive and defensive scheme each week. Caldwell can only do so much, but the impact he's made on players is noticeable.
Let's see how bad they all want it for the city, themselves and their coach.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.