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After Jim Schwartz was fired, the initial signs suggested Ken Whisenhunt would head to Detroit to get the talented but troubled team on track, but in the end Whisenhunt opted to head to Tennessee. Soon after, Jim Caldwell got the nod after reportedly wowing the Detroit front office with plenty of reports citing his great attention to detail which is something that has been lacking with the previous Lions teams.

Matthew Stafford For the Lions to take the next step, they must get Matthew Stafford to fully buy-in. With Peyton Manning as his most famous pupil, Caldwell should have no problem grabbing the attention of the backwards capped big-armed quarterback. New offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi joins Caldwell’s staff after five seasons as Drew Brees' quarterback coach and will be yet another strong voice in the effort to get Stafford to develop his craft. Stafford is surrounded by coaches that have worked with great quarterbacks as he begins his quest to become one.

2nd Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson has been burdened to carry this entire offense on his back for many years so it’s time to get him a competent and consistent running mate. The Lions are rumored to be on the lookout for wide receivers in this year’s draft. The Lions have a team that is ready to win now, and a veteran wide receiver would be an ideal upgrade. If you want to connect the dots, Caldwell won a Super Bowl with soon-to-be free agent Anquan Boldin, who would be an ideal addition. Of course, the Lions murky salary cap situation may prevent that marriage but an upgrade at the second wide receiver position will be a priority in 2014.

Reggie Bush/Joique Bell When Caldwell took over the play calling duties in Baltimore in 2012, both Bernard Pierce and Ray Rice saw their usage and numbers rise. Both players were used to their strengths on their way to a Super Bowl victory. Much of the same was expected for the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 but both running backs appeared to be at less than 100 percent and the entire offense went into the tank after they lost many key figures from their Super Bowl-winning team. Caldwell will attempt to employ his strategy that worked so well for the Ravens’ playoff run with the more than capable duo of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. I would expect both running backs to maintain their current values heading into next season.

Joseph Fauria All he does is catch touchdowns. With Brandon Pettigrew most likely on his way out the door, Joseph Fauria could have a chance to step up into a larger role for the Lions. Caldwell obviously has the track record of utilizing Dallas Clark in his offense with Peyton Manning, and Dennis Pitta was featured heavily in the Ravens playoff run in 2012, so Fauria will have some sleeper appeal but he still has a long way to go. At worst, Fauria will remain a red zone threat but the potential for a larger role may present itself under Caldwell.

Conclusion The Detroit offense shouldn’t skip a beat with Caldwell and Lombardi in town, but the continued maturity of Matthew Stafford will be the key for the Lions to get to that next level.