Three -and-out: Ravens off season blueprint
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will interview for both the Redskins and Lions head coaching positions. The Lions and Redskins interest in Caldwell was confirmed by John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, during a Wednesday telephone interview with CSN Baltimore. The Fritz Pollard Alliance promotes NFL diversity.
Caldwell became the Ravens offensive coordinator in December of 2012 after Cam Cameron was fired, and the Ravens’ offense responded, playing its best football during their run to a Super Bowl title. Caldwell, well respected in the coaching fraternity, was head coach of the Colts for three seasons (2009-11), posting a 26-22 record. In his first season as Colts head coach, they finished 14-2 and won the AFC championship before losing to the Saints in Super Bowl XLVI. In his second season, the Colts finished 10-6 and won the AFC South before losing to the Jets on wild card weekend.
But in 2011, the bottom fell out for the Colts when quarterback Peyton Manning was lost for the season following neck surgery. The Colts finished 2-14, and owner Jim Irsay decided to clean house, firing Caldwell and releasing Manning, before drafting Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick and bringing in Chuck Pagano as head coach.
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Caldwell did not get an interview for a head coaching position after the Ravens’ Super Bowl run. However, his experience as a head coach and his work with two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, Manning and Joe Flacco, makes him an attractive candidate for both the Lions and Redskins. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled with costly turnovers and mechanics this season, and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III also had a disappointing season. Caldwell could be viewed as the type of coach who would help their development.
If Caldwell were to leave, the Ravens would be in the market for their third offensive coordinator in a three-year span. However, it might be the right time for another change. The Ravens struggled offensively this year, finishing 29th in total offense and reaching 30 points just once in 16 games. Putting the entire blame on Caldwell would be grossly unfair. The offensive line struggled from Week 1. Running back Ray Rice had a disappointing season playing through injuries. Flacco did not have a good season, and the offense was lacking in playmakers.
However, Caldwell was unable to find the same success with play calling in 2013 that produced consistent results. Flacco has reached the point in his career where he may want more input with game planning and play calling.