The Ravens offensive coordinator will get his first crack at his former team.
Jim Caldwell spent the last 10 years as a coach for the Indianapolis Colts before coming to Baltimore this season.
On Sunday, Caldwell will get his first shot against his former team, as the Ravens welcome the Colts to Baltimore for the wild-card round of the playoffs.
“Obviously, you are going to look at things a little bit differently,” Caldwell said about facing his old team. “You know a lot more people. Ten years in this profession is an eternity. Three years is a long time for a coach. It’s a bit different in that regard.”
As much as Caldwell wants to treat it as any other game, he admits that it will have a little different significance.
“I had 10 great years there,” Caldwell said. “It’s ironic that we get an opportunity to play against them, which is going to be a lot of fun, because you have two teams with great desire.”
He worked his way up from quarterbacks coach to head coach, and the Colts made the playoffs in all but one of Caldwell’s seasons in Indianapolis. The Colts fired him after a 2-14 campaign last year, and he joined the Ravens as the quarterbacks coach this offseason, and he recently took over as the offensive coordinator.
Caldwell ended up getting replaced by former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano, making Caldwell and Pagano two of the subplots in a game with no shortage of storylines. Sunday will also mark Pagano’s return to Baltimore, where he spent four seasons and was beloved by players.
Caldwell expects the emotions for both of them to be similar when the two teams take the field.
“Chuck probably feels the same way on the other side of it,” Caldwell said. “It’s going to be fun.”
From a football perspective, a number of the players Caldwell coached are still with the Colts. While the Colts have changed their system since Pagano arrived, Caldwell’s familiarity with the roster could give him a bit of an edge as he institutes a game plan.
“They are doing things totally different than we had done them previously,” Caldwell said. “Obviously, we know what strengths and weaknesses they have, and they don’t have many weaknesses. They are a talented group. We will have our work cut out for us.”
Caldwell spent three seasons as the Colts head coach after taking over for Tony Dungy in 2009. He amassed a 26-22 record during that time, and won the AFC South in his first two seasons. He worked closely with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who won three MVPs under Caldwell’s watch.
Last year, the Colts took a downturn when Manning missed the entire year with a neck injury, and Colts owner Jim Irsay decided to clean house after the season. Losing Manning put the Colts into a tailspin, but Caldwell says he has no ill will towards the organization and doesn’t wonder about the “what ifs?”
“Absolutely not,” Caldwell said. “It doesn’t even cross my mind – not one second, not one second. I think for the most part I believe that the good Lord has a plan for us. Often times it’s not as picturesque as we might like it. It may not unfold exactly the way that we had it planned, but it unfolded in [a way in]which He wanted it. I’m satisfied with that. In due time, it usually sort of presents itself and shows what He had in mind and why. Coming here was a blessing for me. It was a great opportunity, and like I said, I’m certainly glad to be here."