Stats & Info: Jim Caldwell

Ravens ground game soars under Caldwell

January, 26, 2013
Jared Wickerham/Getty ImagesThe Ravens are headed to the second Super Bowl in franchise history, and the switch to Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator was one of the keys.
Following a Week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins, the Baltimore Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.

It's a move that appears to have paid off, as the offense averaged 30 points per game during a playoff run that pushed the Ravens to New Orleans for the franchise's second Super Bowl.

Power Football
The biggest change for the Ravens has been an emphasis on the running game under Caldwell. In its first 13 games, Baltimore ran 40 percent of the time, right at the league average.

During the last three weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, the Ravens have run 49 percent of the time.

The contrast has been even greater on first down. The Ravens have used designed rushes on 61 percent of their first down plays under Caldwell, compared to less than half the time under Cameron this season.

The overall impact has been an increase of 10 carries and 46.5 yards per game on the ground. The new emphasis hasn’t limited Baltimore’s passing attack. The Ravens threw for 236 yards per game before the change and have averaged 251 passing yards per game in their last six games.

The biggest beneficiary of the change has been rookie Bernard Pierce. In Caldwell’s six games, he has been on the field for almost a third of Baltimore’s snaps. In the first 13 games, he was on the field 17 percent of the time.

In three weeks spanning the end of the regular season and Wild Card round, he ran for 315 yards and topped the 100-yard mark twice. That topped the 300 yards he ran for in 13 weeks under Cameron.

Taking the Pressure Off Flacco
Forcing the opposition to focus on the Ravens’ rushing attack has helped the passing game. After throwing one interception in Caldwell’s first game, Joe Flacco has 10 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last five games. He had 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions under Cameron.

Under Caldwell, Flacco is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt and has thrown eight touchdowns without an interception when facing four or fewer rushers. That’s nearly two more yards per attempt than under Cameron, when he had 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Flacco ranks sixth in the league with an 83.7 Total QBR against four or fewer rushers over his last six games. He posted a 60.8 QBR in those situations during the first 13 games of the season, ranking 20th.

This seems to have opened up a new dimension to the Ravens passing attack -- the deep ball. Under Cameron, he completed just over a third of his passes more than 20 yards downfield. That number is above 50 percent under Caldwell.

Flacco’s average target depth has been 12.4 yards downfield this postseason, nearly three yards higher than his regular season average of 9.5 yards. This season, the two games he has thrown for the longest average pass depth have come in the last two playoff games.

Aaron Rodgers lights up Vikings as usual

November, 23, 2010
Aaron Rodgers
• While the end may be near for Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers would be happy to play the Minnesota Vikings every week. In evening his career record to 3-3 vs Minnesota, Rodgers has thrown for 1,587 yards, 12 scores and just three interceptions in a half-dozen games against the Vikings in three seasons.

• Sometimes so much about the Chicago Bears is QB Jay Cutler but this season you have to start noticing an improved defense. Chicago has allowed 17 or fewer points in seven of 10 games this season, a trick they managed just four times during all of 2009.

• This is not a prediction on who will win the AFC South but rather who will decide it down the stretch. The 5-5 Tennessee Titans (riding a three-game losing streak) will close the season by playing five divisional games in the final six weeks, including four straight starting this Sunday at Houston.

• Another lesson on why football is a game of matchups. Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost 39-26 to the New England Patriots, recording zero sacks and zero takeaways for the first time all season. Pittsburgh forced three turnovers and totaled six sacks in Sunday’s 35-3 win over the Oakland Raiders. Also worth noting is that for the first time all season, Oakland failed to run the ball at least 25 times (16) for at least 100 yards (61).

• The Arizona Cardinals dropped their fifth straight game and fell to 3-7 this season. For the first time in his four-year head coaching career, Ken Whisenhunt will not win more games than he did the previous season (8-8 in 2007, 9-7 in 2008, 10-6 in 2009).

• A quickie on the Colts: At 6-4, Jim Caldwell's team will now have to run the table in order to record an eighth straight season of 12-plus wins, extending their own NFL record. And in case you don't think that's possible, Tony Dungy's 2008 Colts opened their season at 3-4, and then ran the table for a 12-4 record.

• Emulating one of your siblings can sometimes be a bad thing. It's worth noting that both the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants lost Sunday. Peyton Manning and Eli Manning each threw three interceptions and each threw an interception on their final pass attempt of the game. Indianapolis is now 6-4 and the Giants fell to (you guessed it) 6-4.

• While it's much too early to say that they're in the midst of another second-half swoon, the Giants have now dropped two straight following their 6-2 start. Dating to 2003, Big Blue is 45-19 in their first eight games of the season, compared to a dismal 20-38 in the final eight games of the season. Stay tuned.