Lions can take decision away from Ravens

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
8:05
PM ET
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.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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