Detroit Lions defensive captain Stephen Tulloch has been singing the praises of his new head coach on the eve of the NFC North club’s training camp.
In an exclusive interview that can be viewed on Sky Sports during the NFL season, the nine-year linebacker who has recorded more than 800 career tackles, said:
“Jim Caldwell is an excellent coach – one of the best coaches I’ve been around and one of the best human beings.
“He treats us like men. He demands a high standard and that’s what we need as a team. Everybody has been very receptive of him and we like what he’s doing. When you have a coach who treats you like a man and demands a certain standard, you want to go out each and every day and do your best for him.
“We want to go out there and play our butts off because we know what kind of man he is and we appreciate how he treats us.”
While Tulloch is a classy professional on and off the field and was not taking a direct shot at former head coach Jim Schwartz, it is clear the Lions under-achieved under the man who was fired in the off-season following a 1-7 finish that saw Detroit miss the playoffs.
Under Schwartz, the Lions were prone to high-profile lapses in discipline, late-game meltdowns and penalties… lots of penalties! The arrival of Caldwell has brought a fresh confidence to a team that last won their division in 1993.
Looking ahead to 2014, Tulloch said:
“We have a lot of talent with the offense that we have and the defense we’ve put together. It’s our time now. It’s time to take that next step on that journey we all work so hard for and that’s to win that ring. We’re definitely gearing towards that.”
There may still be some concerns over just how much improvement has been made to a defense that ranked 16th in the NFL a year ago (23rd against the pass) but judging by Tulloch’s comments, there will be no problem with the coaching in Detroit this season.