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Caldwell Says Certain Decisions 'Not For Public Consumption'

By: Will Burchfield

In one instance, Jim Caldwell gambled. In another, he chose not to.

But in both cases, the coach failed to get the result he was looking for, leading to the Lions' 20-13 loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday.

At his Monday afternoon press conference, Caldwell stood behind his decision to call for a late-game onside kick and, earlier, to decline challenging a possible fumble by DeAndre Hopkins.

Early in the third quarter, Hopkins appeared to make a catch just past midfield before being stripped by Johnson Bademosi. The referees ruled it was an incompletion and Caldwell kept the red challenge flag in his hand, allowing the Texans to drive 35 more yards for a field goal that put them up 17-3.

On Monday, Caldwell said he was comfortable with his decision not to send the play to video review.

"Once I saw it on film, that (ball) comes out rather quickly. It's one of those bang-bang plays," he said. "And to supplement that, we checked to see what would've happened in that situation and they would not have overturned that.

"There's always kind of an in-between on those things, but we spend a lot of time on that kind of thing, probably as much as anyone. Every week we study every single call that's in question in the League. Every play. I think our guys are really, really good at it. They really take a real good look at it, they get a chance to see it up above where oftentimes, when you're away, you don't see it down below. I think they did a great job assessing it."

Caldwell later explained that the camera angles made available to the Lions' video team vary based on the location of the game.

"No question about it. It's just the view that you get. Oftentimes I think the view our guys had upstairs was from behind the receiver. But, still felt comfortable with it obviously being rather ambiguous. But yeah, it does change. It also changes home and away, as well, just in terms of how quickly you get that replay."

Part of Caldwell's decision not to challenge the incompletion was guided by his desire to preserve the team's timeouts. Had he executed an unsuccessful challenge, of course, the Lions would have been docked a timeout.

"One of the things I think people undervalue, which we don't, is timeouts. (If) we don't have three timeouts, we don't take it 32 seconds down the field and get three points on the board," Caldwell said, referring to the Lions' scoring drive at the end of the first half. "So we value those timeouts, more in the second half than in the first, but we also want to try and be as judicious as we can. But we want to be right. That's the key."

It was strange to hear Caldwell reference that particular drive, as the decision in question occurred after it. But his larger point about the importance of timeouts was fair, and one he's been making throughout the season.

Later, Caldwell rebuffed the notion that he was "defending" calls that didn't work out.

"Defended? Here's the thing, I'm not defensive. This is the way our game is. Sometimes you're going to make a call and it's going to be right, sometimes you're going to make it and it's going to be wrong, I mean it's just the way it is. I'm as open as you can get in that regard. I discuss those things," he clarified.

Asked, then, if he would change anything about his game plan on Sunday, Caldwell declined to get into specifics.

"I'm certainly not going to go down the whole litany of things - this, this, this and this. Number one, I don't have time for it. Number two, it's not something we discuss necessarily in public," he said. "We do try and make certain we correct all of our mistakes, from top to bottom, coaches, players alike, every single week. We do a complete debrief, we do a complete assessment of where we are from a personnel standpoint to a schematic standpoint. You name it, we go through it, but it's not for public consumption."

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