Baltimore Ravens: Jim Caldwell

By my count, the Baltimore Ravens parted ways with six coaches. They either moved on to other jobs or got fired. Let's take a look at where they landed:

Jim Caldwell, offensive coordinator: Detroit Lions head coach

Teryl Austin, secondary coach: Lions defensive coordinator

Wade Harman, tight ends: Atlanta Falcons assistant offensive line coach

Jim Hostler, wide receivers: Buffalo Bills senior offensive assistant

Andy Moeller, offensive line: Cleveland Browns offensive line coach

Wilbert Montgomery, running backs: Browns running backs coach
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell was hired by the Detroit Lions to become their new head coach, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

As I wrote on Monday night, this is the best move for both Caldwell and the Ravens.

Caldwell certainly made an impact last season, when he took over for Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator. In the playoffs, the Ravens averaged 31 points per game and 410.3 yards.

But there wasn't the same success in Caldwell's first full season as the offensive coordinator. The Ravens averaged 20 points per game, and they scored over 20 points in five games this past season.

Here are my thoughts on Caldwell as a head coach:

Caldwell is unlike most of the NFL head-coaching candidates out there with his low-key demeanor and Super Bowl credentials. He takes a big-picture approach and is open to take input from players and coaches without feeling threatened. Caldwell is a good hire for a team looking to restore a locker room and want someone who will do so without a heavy hand.

The question with Caldwell is his track record. He essentially took over Tony Dungy's team in Indianapolis -- or should we say, Peyton Manning's team -- and guided the Colts to a 14-2 record his first season and helped them to a Super Bowl the next season. When Manning was out in 2011, the Colts fell apart and finished 2-14. That could be a red flag. There's no question that Caldwell is a good leader. What he has to prove is he's a good head coach.

If Caldwell is unsuccessful with the Lions, it'll likely be his last shot at being an NFL head coach.
If Jim Caldwell is hired by the Detroit Lions, it would make life easier for the Baltimore Ravens and their offensive coordinator.

The worst-case scenario is Caldwell not getting a head coaching job this offseason. That would lead to a tough decision for the Ravens as well as Caldwell.

The Ravens admire Caldwell as a person and as a coach, but the offense finished 29th in total yards and 25th in scoring in his first full season as coordinator. And, even if the Ravens want him to return, I'm not entirely sure Caldwell wants to come back as the playcaller.

Caldwell came to the Ravens before the 2012 season as a former head coach whose expertise was developing quarterbacks. He was hired to be in Joe Flacco's ear, not run an entire offense. Caldwell had never been an offensive coordinator in his previous three decades of coaching. If you remember, Caldwell was reluctant to replace Cam Cameron at first a year ago but he did so because the Ravens convinced him that it was best for the team. The rest is Super Bowl history.

The results were not as memorable or successful in 2013. The offensive line struggled to open holes in the running game and pass protect. Flacco threw a career-worst 22 interceptions, and running back Ray Rice averaged a career-low 3.1 yards per carry.

It would be in everyone's best interest to have a fresh start. Caldwell is better suited to running an entire team, and the Ravens can hand the reigns of the offense to someone who is more committed to it for the long term.

There are plenty of options for the Ravens. Baltimore could make the big splash by hiring Norv Turner, who has yet to be released from his Cleveland Browns' contract. The Ravens could look for the younger hot candidate in Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo. Or the Ravens can keep continuity and promote wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, who is the only coach on staff that has experience as an offensive coordinator. Hostler has the advantage of already knowing the players and the offensive coaches.

This, of course, hinges on the Lions hiring Caldwell. The Lions job is Caldwell's last opportunity to get a head coaching job this year after losing out on the vacancies with the Washington Redskins and Tennessee Titans.

The Ravens are among Caldwell's biggest supporters and appreciate the work he did that led to a Lombardi Trophy. That's why it would be easier if the Lions hired Caldwell and removed any tough decision away from the Ravens.
The Baltimore Ravens may have to find a new offensive coordinator soon.

Jim Caldwell, who just finished his first full season as the Ravens' play caller, is looking like the leading candidate for the Detroit Lions' head coaching job after presumed front-runner Ken Whisenhunt accepted an offer to become the Tennessee Titans' next head coach.

League sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen that Lions have kept open communications with Caldwell and his representatives. Working on Caldwell's favor is the support from former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who spoke with Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. earlier Monday to reaffirm strong attributes he believed Caldwell would bring to the Lions.

There was no guarantee that Caldwell would remain the Ravens' offensive coordinator if he didn't get hired as a head coach this offseason. The Ravens finished 29th in offense last season.

If Caldwell is hired, he could take some coaches from the Ravens' staff with him. Secondary coach Teryl Austin has been mentioned as a possibility to become Caldwell's defensive coordinator.
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Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell will interview for the Tennessee Titans' head coaching job this week, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

According to Schefter, the Titans put in the request Monday to interview Caldwell. This would mark the third reported interview for Caldwell this offseason.

Caldwell met with the Washington Redskins on Sunday and spoke with the Detroit Lions on Friday. San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is considered the front-runner for the Lions' vacancy, sources told Schefter over the weekend.

The Titans' head coaching job became available when the team fired Mike Munchak on Saturday. Tennessee already has plans to interview Whisenhunt, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Caldwell joined the Ravens as their quarterbacks coach in 2012 after he spent three seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts (2009-2011). He took over for Cam Cameron as the team's offensive coordinator with three games remaining last season and helped the Ravens' offense during an impressive Super Bowl run.

But, in his first full season as the Ravens' playcaller, the Ravens offense finished 29th in total yards and averaged 20 points per game, eighth-fewest in the league. If Caldwell would get one of these head coaching jobs, it is believed that Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin would become his defensive coordinator.
Running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery will not return to the Baltimore Ravens after the team set records for rushing futility this season.

Montgomery has been the Ravens' only running backs coach since coach John Harbaugh was hired in 2008. This season, the Ravens set team marks for fewest yards rushing per game (83) and per carry (3.1).

"Wilbert has decided to pursue other coaching and life opportunities," Harbaugh said in a statement. "I want to thank him for everything he did for our organization. Wilbert has been a tremendous coach for the Ravens, and he has played an integral role in the success we've experienced over the past several seasons."

During his six seasons with the Ravens, Montgomery has coached three players who reached the Pro Bowl a total of seven times: Ray Rice (three), Le'Ron McClain (twice) and Vonta Leach (twice).

But things changed with the ground game in 2013, when Rice had the worst season of his career and the Ravens went away from being an I-formation, power running team.

"I have a great deal of respect for the person Wilbert is -- not just as a coach, but also as an outstanding family man and someone who inspires everyone around him," Harbaugh said. "In addition to his knowledge of the game and ability to connect with his players, Wilbert brought a passion to the Ravens that helped our team -- and the individuals on it -- reach tremendous heights."

There could be other upcoming changes with the Ravens' coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, and there have been questions about the future of run game coordinator Juan Castillo.
It's been reported that Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell was going to meet with the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions. Now, his itinerary has been set.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Caldwell met with the Redskins on Wednesday and is scheduled to interview with the Lions on Friday.

Caldwell turned the Ravens' offense around in 2012, when he replaced Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator in December. Under Caldwell, the Ravens averaged 31 points and 410.3 yards in the playoffs.

He didn't have the same success with the Ravens this past season. In his first full season as the Ravens' playcaller, the offense ranked 29th in total yards (307.4) and 25th in scoring (20.0 points).

If Caldwell leaves, the Ravens will have a decision on how to replace him. The only coach on staff who has experience as an NFL offensive coordinator is wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, who was the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator in 2007. The Ravens will likely have to look outside the organization and could consider someone like Norv Turner if he is released from his contract with the Cleveland Browns.
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is reportedly drawing interest for two head coaching vacancies, the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins.

A league source told NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Caldwell will interview for the opening in Detroit. John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, confirmed to Redskins reporter John Keim that Caldwell will also interview with Washington.

Caldwell's chances of landing the Lions' job increased when Lovie Smith, who drew interest from Detroit, agreed to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday night.

What makes Caldwell attractive to the Lions and Redskins is his extensive background with quarterbacks. Both franchises are looking for their quarterbacks (Matthew Stafford and Robert Griffin III) to take their games to the next level.

What hurts Caldwell is the fact the Ravens finished 29th in offense in his first full season as the play-caller. That wouldn't help anyone's resume.

Caldwell could consider returning to the college ranks. His name has been linked to Penn State, which is looking for a new head coach after Bill O'Brien was hired by the Houston Texans. Caldwell coaches eight seasons at Wake Forest (1993-2000) and has ties with Penn State, where he was the quarterbacks coach from 1986-92.

If Caldwell leaves, the Ravens and Joe Flacco would enter 2014 with their third offensive coordinator in three seasons.

Here's the rest of your wake-up caw ...
  • John Eisenberg, of the team's official website, thinks the Ravens have earned some slack. "Big picture, the Ravens followed up five winning campaigns with their version of a dud. That’s a pretty good ratio," Eisenberg wrote. "It’s when you follow up one dud of a season with another that times get tougher, the public begins to seriously question your methodology and your slack begins to run out."
  • The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston believes that cornerback Lardarius Webb is a candidate to have his contract restructured. Webb is also scheduled to make $7.5 million next season with a cap figure of $10.5 million.
  • Ravens coach John Harbaugh made it clear that he wants left tackle Eugene Monroe to be re-signed in free agency. As The Carroll County (Md.) Times pointed out, Monroe has never been to a Pro Bowl but he is 26 and graded out as one of the top-10 left tackles in the NFL this year. "I don’t think there’s any question that people feel like Eugene Monroe is a long-term answer at left tackle," Harbaugh said. "For a guy coming in when he came in, and to pick up the offense and perform the way he did, it says a lot."
By the time the Wake-up caw pops up on the site, it will be about 36 hours until the Baltimore Ravens kick off their title defense in Denver. In the meantime, let's take a look at some headlines on the Ravens beat ...
  • The Ravens expect to open up the offense, which running back Ray Rice described as "very vanilla" in the preseason. “I’m not going to say a lot different, but you’re going to see some things different than what we’ve done previously probably here or there,” offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said, via the team's website. “We’re not giving away any trade secrets, but there could be a wrinkle here and there.” Even though the Ravens offense was bland in the preseason, they still have to figure out a way to improve their run blocking. Remember the Ravens ran the ball more than they threw it in the double overtime AFC divisional playoff game in Denver.
  • All signs point to tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) playing Thursday night in Denver. “I’m not 100 percent sure, but I feel 100 percent,” Dickson told Comcast SportsNet after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m being smart with it. I’m going with the coaches, I’m going with the trainers, I’m going day-to-day.”
  • Wide receiver Torrey Smith told The Baltimore Sun he's preparing as if Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey is playing. Bailey hasn't practiced this week because of a foot injury. I'm thinking Smith wants Bailey to play after how he burned the 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback in the last meeting. Smith scored on touchdown catches of 59 and 32 yards against Bailey.
  • Owner Steve Bisciotti told The Baltimore Sun that he wasn't concerned that Ozzie Newsome would step down as general manager after winning the Super Bowl. "And if I had that fear, I would've been more reluctant to back this purge of these veterans," Bisciotti said. The Ravens won't be caught off-guard when Newsome decides to retire. The Ravens will turn to their general manager-in-waiting Eric DeCosta.
  • The Ravens will help spread the word about Obamacare enrollment in Maryland, the website Politico reports.