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New Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell Has Players' Respect

Posted Dec 12, 2012

The offensive players said the responsibility falls on them to improve the offense.

The Ravens are just two days into Jim Caldwell’s tenure as the offensive coordinator, but the veteran coach has quickly earned the respect of his players.

"He has our full attention,” left tackle Michael Oher said. "We believe in him 100 percent.”

This is the first time Caldwell has been an offensive coordinator and play caller at the NFL level, but he was a long-time quarterbacks coach and head coach for Peyton Manning in Indianapolis before joining the Ravens’ staff this offseason.

"He’s a guy that’s been around this league a long time,” fullback Vonta Leach said. "He’s helped with the development of Peyton Manning, so I think he’s the right person for the right job.”

"He’s a great coach,” tight end Ed Dickson added. "What I got in just this one year that we’ve had him is just that he’s a great leader, great mentor. He leads by example.”

Caldwell took over for Cam Cameron on Monday in a move that caught a number of players by surprise.

Joe Flacco said he was "stunned” by the move, and Ray Rice said it was a "wake-up call,” but the overall sentiment amongst the players is that the responsibility is on them to improve the offense.

"That’s the decision coach felt was best for the team, so for us it’s our job to make Jim Caldwell the best coordinator in the league,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "At the end of the day, no matter who is calling the plays, it’s on us to go out there and make the plays. That’s been the difference when we’ve played well and when we don’t.”

"It’s up to the players to pull together and get this done,” Dickson added. "It kind of shocked me a little bit, but that’s the nature of this business. If you’re not getting it done, you got to find somebody to get it done. My heart goes out to his family and stuff like that and I appreciate everything he did for this team, but it’s time for us to get it together.”

The Ravens currently rank 18th NFL in yards per game (344.4) and ninth in points per game (25.5). The group has lit up the scoreboard in games – scoring 55 points against Oakland – but also gone stagnant at times.

The focus for the final three regular-season games is to improve the consistency and get into a rhythm heading into the playoffs.

"Expectations are high,” center Matt Birk said. "We talk about it all the time; we know. We are here to get as good as we can possibly get and get in the playoffs and see what happens. Obviously, we know what our ultimate goal is.”

Caldwell has explained that he doesn’t plan to institute any major changes, but he is a proponent of the up-tempo offense and some of the players noticed a difference during Wednesday morning’s        .

"I wouldn’t say it’s really any major changes, it more just the attitude about the way your approach it,” Smith said. "Everything is up-tempo. Everything is, ‘you’re going to do it right the first time.’ He’s doing a great job of drilling that in already in two meetings. We’re looking forward to the difference. We saw a difference in walk through today. If anything else, it’s a different change in terms of the energy level with a different coordinator.” 

Caldwell has started to put his stamp on the offense, and the focus now for the players is to capitalize on their opportunities regardless of who calls the plays.

"He’s definitely taking charge and it’s definitely on us to follow his lead and make the plays,” Smith said. "[The switch] means we’re serious about something. Obviously our leaders at the top felt that a move needed to be made, being that they made the move, so it’s on us to make it the best move."

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