It’s a good thing when assistant coaches are given opportunities to advance their careers in head coaching positions, right? It says that a lot of things went really, really well, correct? And it generally happens after a highly successfully season, isn’t that true?
So, would you expect an offensive coordinator of the 29th-ranked offense in the NFL to get a head coaching job by mid January? Not really, but that is what has happened as Jim Caldwell leaves the Baltimore Ravens to assume the head position in Detroit.
You will recall that Caldwell took over calling plays for Cam Cameron late in the 2012 campaign, and from that time forward, Joe Flacco went on a total tear that led the Ravens to the Super Bowl Championship. As much as Caldwell accrued credit for the bulk of that transformation, he escaped the condemnation for 2013’s offensive malaise.
And honestly, that is fair enough. The Ravens did not have the horses for a great offense this year, especially on the line, and too many of those players who might have salvaged at least a mediocre season were too injured to make a difference. All the great coaching in the world cannot make a significant difference in that scenario.
It makes sense for the Lions to hire Caldwell. He will bring a system of discipline that has been missing. And Caldwell is known for working well with quarterbacks, and that is the need of the hour in Detroit with Matt Stafford. Jim had the previous experience of not just coaching Flacco, but of also working with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Caldwell followed Tony Dungy and was at the helm for the 2009 season where the Colts lost to New Orleans in the Super Bowl.
So who might be a replacement for Caldwell in Baltimore?
The first name most often mentioned seems to be Rob Chudzinski. The recently fired head coach of the Cleveland Browns has twice turned around struggling offenses in his first year as an offensive coordinator.
In 2007 he turned a poor Browns offense into the #8 offense in the NFL. And then in 2011 with the Carolina Panthers, Chudzinski took an offensive ranked near the bottom of the NFL in 2010 to a #7 overall ranking in 2011. This was during Cam Newton’s rookie year.
Good things will certainly happen for the Ravens if they can come back in 2014 with a 7th or 8th best offense!