You're knee-deep at this point in our Lions special issue. There are tailgate tips, prognostications on which player will get injured eating which food, and a look at the Lions' backfield, which is always in the unenviable position of being compared to Barry Sanders. What we don't have? Any interviews. It wasn't for lack of trying, and we're certainly not complaining. We asked the Lions for training camp credentials, they looked at last year's Lions issue, and thought better of inviting us inside the place. No harm, no foul. We've got plenty of other things going on, and any interviews we might have scored in a scrum of two dozen bored sports reporters probably wouldn't be anything to write home about, let alone write in a magazine.
Which doesn't mean we wouldn't like to try and build some relationships here and maybe get a chance next year. Assuming the Lions' delightful and talented PR staff does the same thing next season as they did this season, they'll look to this issue and determine whether we have the journalistic chops to get a lanyard around our necks that signifies to all those around us that we're special. So we thought we'd give them a sample of how our hypothetical chat with Lions coach and ebullient personality Jim Caldwell might've gone down.
Here's what he might've said:
Metro Times: Hey, Coach. (We call you 'Coach,' right? Not manager? That's a different sport.)
Jim Caldwell: 'Coach' is fine.
MT: Good answer, Coach. First, thanks for putting out this spread. You really didn't have to have this catered. And you definitely didn't have to bring this keg. We got work to do still this afternoon.
Caldwell: You're welcome.
MT: Again, great answer, Coach. You're a helluva interview. Do you read Metro Times?
Caldwell: I do.
MT: Do you bring stacks of issues in your car to give out to friends and family and fans wherever you go?
MT: Do you read Savage Love every week? Did you see Dan's answer to the guy who was into foot stuff and worried he couldn't get into vanilla sex? And did you think Dan's answer was helpful?
Caldwell: I did.
MT: Mesmerizing. Alright, let's talk a little about football. You recently gave a talk to the Detroit Economic Club. You spoke about taking the momentum from last season's 11-5 mark and how you think it can keep going into 2015. You said, "Very rarely do you get in a situation where you have more than one leader in a room, and we have several in every single room." How many rooms do you have?
Caldwell: More than five.
MT: That's a lot of rooms. You also said, "I think the recipe is there." What's your favorite recipe?
Caldwell: Chicken paprikash.
MT: Ours too! You're big into leadership and empowering anyone at any level of your staff to bring contributions to the team. We've heard one of your favorite sayings is, "A good idea has no rank." Where does a bad idea rank?
MT: That's very specific.
Caldwell: It is.
MT: At the Detroit Economic Club meeting, you also said this: "We have a leadership council. We'll set the plan, put it together, and I'll let the leadership council take a look at it and see if they have any suggestions. How can we make it better? It's better when they own it." How many things do you own?
Caldwell: More than five.
MT: That's a lot of things.
MT: There has been criticism of Matthew Stafford over the past few years. Many have wondered whether he can make the leap to elite quarterback and if you believe in him. Earlier this month, you seemed to answer that question bluntly. You said, "He's a guy that has what it takes to win. We are looking for a championship quarterback, and he has the necessary qualities to be just that. He's a talented guy, tough guy, and I think you'll see him improve this year. He'll be a little bit better, and after a while, there won't be so many questions about him." We'd like to offer up this follow-up question, if we may: What did you get Matthew Stafford for his wedding?
Caldwell: A juicer.
MT: You recently said that you're not a fan of the HBO show Hard Knocks. We find that a little shocking, but then again, lots of coaches don't like the show for one reason or another. What's your favorite show on HBO?
Caldwell: Silicon Valley.
MT: We would have pegged you as a Game of Thrones guy.
MT: We like Veep.
MT: With the changes to the point-after rules this year, there has been a lot of conversation about how often teams will go for two instead of kicking. Asked about this recently, you said, "We're going to have to be ready to go for two because whether you take the conservative approach, because we're indoors, we may not have the variance of wind at home as much, so you can kick your PAT and not feel too bad about that aspect of it. But the fact of the matter is, when you go on the road, the wind and all those conditions may make you think about going for two a little bit more often. But even more so, I'm sure there's going to be some teams we play against, and we may be one of them, that decide to go for two every single time." Two questions here: How can you play against yourself?
Caldwell: Not sure.
MT: And second, should there be another option, like a 9-point play if you can throw the ball into a loge and knock over a platter of chicken wings? Like Rock N' Jock?
MT: Jim, you awake?