Today comes the news that Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has tentatively agreed to accept the Lions head coaching position. Whether or not it’s a good idea to hire a coach who went 2-14 in his only season as HC without Peyton Manning might be questionable, but it’s also not our problem. The Ravens offense stalled this season with him calling the plays, so this move was probably best for both parties.
I’d be remiss not to at least acknowledge the good that Caldwell accomplished in his 13 months or so as Ravens OC. For one, his name wasn’t Cam Cameron. This was a gift we could never repay him for. And the obvious is that he coached Joe Flacco to an improbable Super Bowl title. And for this, we thank him.
The downside is that Caldwell may be taking a few members of the staff with him. Recently fired RB’s coach Wilbert Montgomery and current OL coach Andy Moeller are rumored to be following him to Detroit, and that’s fine by me. But DB’s coach Teryl Austin, an up-and-comer in NFL coaching circles, is rumored to be named Caldwell’s defensive coordinator, and that loss will hurt.
So what now?
Early internal and external candidates have emerged to replace Caldwell, and more names will come out in the coming days. Jim Hostler, the current WRs coach, is rumored to be the top internal candidate, and had a one year stint as 49ers OC in 2007. However, his play calling was heavily criticized, particularly when Frank Gore publicly acknowledged that the Niners’ offense didn’t trust him by October of that year. Definitely not what you want to hear about a candidate who will be tasked with resurrecting an underperforming running attack.
Top external candidates include Norv Turner, recently fired Browns HC Rob Chudzinski, Packers QB coach Ben McAdoo, and Eagles QB Coach Bill Lazor. I personally like Turner as the guy. Despite his relative failures as a head coach, he has a long and successful track record as an offensive guru. He utilizes tight ends well, which would continue to foster the relationship between Flacco and Pitta (given that we re-sign him). We’ve had the likes of Matt Cavanaugh and Cam Cameron in the past, and it’s time to bring a big name in to turn this offense around. With some new personnel (a physical wideout, O-line overhaul), there’s no reason why this offense can’t be top 10 in the league.
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