OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Don't expect Jim Caldwell to
incorporate the triple-option or a variety of trick plays in his
first NFL game as an offensive coordinator.
Caldwell grabbed the reins of the Baltimore Ravens' offense on
Monday after coach John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron. Caldwell
was in his first year as Baltimore's quarterbacks coach, a job he
will retain moving forward.
For his first assignment as an offensive coordinator, the
57-year-old Caldwell will be asked to oversee and direct an attack
that must outdo Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, whom
Caldwell coached in Indianapolis.
"It may seem like a bit of a novelty, but it isn't," Caldwell
said Thursday. "We both have a job to do."
Caldwell takes over a unit that has is ranked 18th in total
yardage and has been inconsistent throughout the season. With only
three weeks to go, he intends to tweak the offense rather than
"Obviously there's not going to be a system change of any
sort," he said. "I'll add a few wrinkles here and there. For the
most part, I think the guys are comfortable with what we do. I've
got to find what best suits our personnel and utilize that. Do the
things that we do best."
Cameron was criticized for not using running back Ray Rice
enough, and others questioned whether quarterback Joe Flacco showed
improvement from a year ago. Caldwell wouldn't tip his hand on how
he intends to utilize either player, but it appears as if he can't
wait to put his stamp on a unit with plenty of weapons.
"The reason why I coach is that I have a great passion for the
game," he said. "I love a challenge. There is nothing about
professional football that's easy. So it's going to require
everything you have and just a little bit more. That's what makes
me excited about what we're doing."
His only wish was that this opportunity came under different
"The situation is tough. I hate to see a colleague lose his
job," Caldwell said. "I've been fired a few times as well. That's
the tough part of it. But nevertheless I certainly am excited about
having the opportunity to work with some outstanding men in a great
organization with outstanding people surrounding me. Let's see what
we can do."
Flacco, like many players on the team, was stunned to see
Cameron dismissed -- especially at a time when the Ravens needed
only one more win to clinch a fifth consecutive playoff berth. But
Baltimore (9-4) has lost two in a row, and with a defense depleted
by injury, it was time for the offense to take charge and make
"I think as an offense, we have to look at ourselves and see
what we can do to be better," Flacco said. "Obviously, we weren't
With Caldwell at the helm, things won't be much different -- although he intends to work in the booth rather than on the sideline, as Cameron did.
"Anytime you've been coaching quarterbacks, the offense runs
through you," Caldwell said. "That's what I've always been
Quite a change for a guy who was a four-year starter at
defensive back for Iowa from 1973-76 and began his coaching career
working with the defense.
"I went to the offensive side of the ball to get a good sense
of balance and things of that nature," Caldwell said. "I wanted
to really know offensive football. So the great majority of the
latter part of my career has been on offense. There's not anything
that you should not know if you're coaching the quarterbacks
because you're involved in every situation."
Now, though, he will be responsible for calling the plays.
Whether he maintains the job after this season remains to be seen.
"You know what? I don't look any further than the next day,"
he said. "Nothing's promised to you. In the Bible it tells you
that. What I do is do my job. We'll worry about the other things
down the road."
Caldwell was head coach at Indianapolis from 2009-11. He was
fired after the team went 2-14 in 2011, but still harbors hopes of
getting another chance.
"I think if you're in this business that should always be your
goal. Right?" he said. "I don't think I'll ever lose that
particular desire until the point in time when they run me out of