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5 Questions For A Jim Caldwell Offense

Posted Dec 11, 2012

A look at the different factors that go into a change at offensive coordinator.

New Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell gave a brief statement to reporters Monday in what must have been a whirlwind day for him.

He found out that morning that Cam Cameron was let go, and accepted his new job on the spot.

Reporters won’t be able to ask Caldwell any questions until Thursday, and players won’t be at the podium until Wednesday, so there are some unanswered questions about Caldwell’s impact on the offense.

Is this a spark or a distraction?
Making a move this late in the season is bold. What hasn’t been heard is reaction from players. Are they happy with the change and excited to turn over a new leaf? Head Coach John Harbaugh said it was considered whether the move would be a “distraction,” but he took that gamble. It will be interesting to hear from quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice, in particular, on Wednesday.

Will the Ravens run the ball more?
There was a constant magnifying glass on how much Rice got the ball in Baltimore. Cameron was frequently accused of not feeding it to him enough. Will that change under Caldwell? Harbaugh was asked whether he wants to see Rice get the ball more in the new offense. He said he thinks Rice gets the ball a lot. “I think we are right on schedule with that,” Harbaugh said. Caldwell’s offenses in Indianapolis featured a lot of passing on the arm of Peyton Manning.

What will the offensive tempo be?
The Ravens entered the season with an up-tempo, no-huddle offense that sparkled in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals and at times at home afterwards. But Baltimore got away from it in the weeks leading up to Sunday’s game in Washington. Flacco has expressed his desire to run a faster offense, but the team also didn’t like its skewed time of possession early in the season. Caldwell helped Manning operate an up-tempo offense in Indianapolis.

How successful will Caldwell be in handling play calling?
Calling plays in the NFL isn’t as easy as it is on Madden. Caldwell hadn’t done it in his previous 11 years of coaching in the NFL, and has never been a coordinator in all 35 years. It’s impossible to know how successful he’ll be. Harbaugh was asked about it Monday and simply said, “Jim is qualified. Jim is a heck of a coach and we have a heck of a staff. They’ll do a great job, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.” It has not been determined yet whether he’ll call plays from the field or an elevated booth.

Will Caldwell be the long-term offensive coordinator?
Harbaugh was vague about whether Caldwell is an interim offensive coordinator or if he’ll continue in the role beyond this season. “Long-term considerations are long-term considerations, and that’s not in the forefront of our mind right now,” Harbaugh said. Caldwell was brought to Baltimore in February to be the team’s quarterbacks coach and talked then about how happy he was to have that post. But he said he “certainly agreed to take on the challenge” of being a coordinator.

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