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Caldwell: Proving Critics Wrong "Doesn't Stimulate Me"

By: Will Burchfield

10 weeks ago, the Lions were in last place in the NFC North and Jim Caldwell was firmly on the hot seat. Fast forward to today, and the Lions are churning toward a division title and Caldwell is garnering support for Coach of the Year.

But Caldwell doesn't revel in silencing the critics - either the team's or his own.

"I get no satisfaction because number one, I don't pay any attention to it. Matter of fact, I don't hear it. All we're concerned about is what we can control," he said.

Caldwell and the Lions still have their doubters, to be sure. There are those who suggest the team is destined to collapse and others who claim the coach remains an impediment to his players' success. Either way, Caldwell doesn't really care.

"Satisfaction doesn't come from showing people, 'Hey, we can do this.' That doesn't stimulate me at all," he said. "I coach because of the fact I love to see men perform at their absolute best and try to take them to heights maybe where they can't take themselves. Those are the things that I think drive our staff and drive the people that are in this business more so than anything else."

Plus, Caldwell went on, job security is a fanciful notion in the NFL.

"In this business you're always on the hot seat. I don't care what your record is. It's what have you done lately, you know? I saw several years back, Marty Schoettenheimer got fired at 14-2," Caldwell said, referencing the Chargers' shocking decision to part ways with their coach after a terrific 2006 season. "If that doesn't tell you something about this business, nothing will.

"(There's) always going to be chatter and I think that's what the great thing (is) about our sport. Everybody loves to talk about it. It's heightened emotions. That's what makes our sport so interesting. That's why the viewership is the way it is because of the fact that there are so many factors involved in it. That part is part of it."

The Lions, winners of four straight and seven of their past eight, will look to continue their momentum when they host the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"We're playing better, but we've got a big challenge ahead of us this week," Caldwell said. "And it's a week-to-week business."

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