An offensive statistical analysis of Caldwell

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
12:00
PM ET
Jim Caldwell is still putting together his staff and searching for an offensive coordinator, but when it comes to the Detroit offense in 2014, the new head coach will have a lot of input.

He may even call the plays himself.

“Well, we’re going to take a look and see exactly what we want to do in that particular area,” Caldwell said. “Here’s one thing you can guarantee, that I’m going to have, obviously, some input in that area.

“I’m going to be involved deeply in that area and, certainly, with the quarterbacks as well.”

Caldwell gave some hints to scheme on Wednesday during his introductory news conference, saying the Lions would run more one-back than two-back in terms of offense and that he plans on being multiple when it comes to personnel.

In Caldwell’s time as a head coach and offensive coordinator, though, the Colts carried a fullback on the roster during his final season in 2011 and had one when he was Baltimore’s offensive coordinator in 2013 as well.

The Lions did not have a true fullback on the roster in 2013, although Montell Owens could theoretically fill that role if necessary.

So if Caldwell decides to call plays for Detroit this season, here’s a peek at what that could look like with the caveat that the Lions have more dynamic pieces this season than Baltimore did last season.

Baltimore, under Caldwell, was 29th in offense last season and 25th in scoring. He isn’t, though, absolutely stepping away from calling plays this season with Detroit.

Last season, of a total of 1,042 plays, Baltimore ran the ball 423 times and passed the ball 619 times. The Ravens, under Caldwell, were 18th in the NFL in rushes (Detroit was 14th last season) and eighth in the league in passes. (Detroit was fifth.)

They were last in the league in yards per rush (3.1) and 31st in the league in yards per passing attempt.

Caldwell had almost a 50-50 split between run and pass on first downs, attempting passes 211 times and running the ball 243 times. He was much more likely to pass on second and third downs.

On second downs, Baltimore threw 209 passes to only 135 runs and on third down, threw the ball 189 times to only 40 rushes. The highest completion percentage on any down came on second down, when the Ravens completed 63.2 percent of their passes.

Looking at it by quarters, Caldwell was most balanced in the first quarters of games calling plays, calling 123 passes and 100 runs. The second quarter was the most unbalanced, with 170 passes to 91 runs.

In second halves, Caldwell calledn 147 passes to 108 runs in the third quarter and 176 passes to 115 rushes in the fourth quarter. The Ravens got markedly better throwing the ball after halftime -- perhaps a sign of strong adjustments -- completing 64.6 percent of passes in the third quarter and 60.8 percent of passes in the fourth quarter. In the first halves of games, the Ravens completed under 60 percent of passes in both the first and second quarters.

Caldwell also called many more passes on the road versus at home. The Ravens threw 338 passes on the road this season compared to 281 at home and ran the ball 230 times at home compared to 193 on the road.

Not surprisingly, Baltimore completed more passes at home (60.5) versus away from Maryland (57.1). The Ravens also threw more interceptions on the road (14) than at home (9), but had more yards per rush (3.44) on the road than at home (2.89).

When it comes to runs, Baltimore ran 199 times toward the guards (83 to the left, 116 to the right). The Ravens gained 575 yards, or 2.89 yards a carry, on those rushes with two touchdowns. Caldwell called 142 rushes up the middle for 496 yards.

He called outside runs the least -- 73 times -- with 35 called outside to the left and 38 outside to the right. Combined, the Ravens gained 264 yards and scored three touchdowns on those plays.

During his shortened stint as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator in 2012, when he took over before Week 15, there was more balance. Caldwell was almost perfectly balanced in first quarters in 2012, passing 52 times and rushing 54 times. In second quarters, he threw 62 times and ran 58 times. He threw 71 times and ran 56 times in third quarters and threw 43 times and ran 70 times in fourth quarters.

His run/pass comparisons on downs was as expected in 2012. He ran much more on first down (133 times) versus passing (76 attempts). He was close to balanced on second down, rushing 90 times and passing 82 times. He passed 74 times on third down and rushed only 22 times.

By the numbers when Caldwell was a coordinator in Baltimore in the regular season (Week 15 2012-Week 17 2013):
  • Total yards: 26th (6,081)
  • Touchdowns: 28th (33)
  • Completion percentage: 22nd (58.7)
  • Yards per rush: 32nd (3.4)
  • Interceptions: 28th (25)
  • Turnovers: 19th (32)
  • First downs: 21st (355)

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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