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Combine Notebook: Jim Caldwell Talks Joe Flacco's Development


The annual NFL Scouting Combine began Thursday, with the first round of players going through interviews with the media in Indianapolis. 

In addition to the prospect interviews, a number of coaches and general managers around the league also spoke with the press at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Here are some of the highlights from the first day at the combine:

Caldwell Talks Flacco's Development

Former Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell has moved onto his new role as the head coach of the Detroit Lions, but he looked back on his time with quarterback Joe Flacco Thursday.

Flacco and the Ravens offense struggled in 2013, but Caldwell praised his former quarterback.

"I still think that he is a talented guy, which is proven," Caldwell said. "He's got skills and ability. Not every year is going to be a perfect year. Also, guys can't do it alone at that spot. I do think he made progress. Sometimes it's tough for you to see."

Flacco finished the year throwing for career highs in yards (3,912) and interceptions (22), and he completed 59 percent of his passes for 19 touchdowns. He was inconsistent during the season and the Ravens finished the year ranked 29th overall in the NFL.

"If you look at the numbers strictly, they can be a bit deceiving at times," Caldwell said.

Caldwell worked with Flacco for the last two seasons, as his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Flacco was at his best under Caldwell, leading the Ravens to Super Bowl XLVII title with a historic postseason run.

When Caldwell looks at Flacco's overall performance during his time in Baltimore, he* *sees how the quarterback developed and thinks he has good years ahead of him.

"When you take a look form the inside out, we had an opportunity to work with him day after day, and he's been improving by leaps and bounds each and every year," Caldwell said. "And I would anticipate that's going to continue."

Harbaugh Brothers Visit At Combine

The combine isn't all business.

One of the benefits for Head Coach John Harbaugh is getting to spend time with his younger brother Jim. As the two lead their respective team on different side of the county, face-to-face time has become a rare occurrence.

The siblings grabbed lunch at the popular Shula's Steakhouse in Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon, and plan on spending more time together over the next few days.

"This is one of three times that we have a chance to get together – the owners meetings in Orlando next month, and then sometimes we'll see him on vacation,"  the 49ers head coach said.

"I miss my niece Alison; she's not here. I'll see her at the owners meetings. With the schedules, I don't see my niece enough, and it's good seeing my brother here at the combine."

Huge Offseason For Steelers

Like the Ravens, AFC North rival Pittsburgh is trying to get back to the playoffs after missing the postseason. Only, this is the second consecutive year they've been knocked out of contention.

The Steelers are a veteran team without much room under the salary cap, and General Manager Kevin Colbert stressed the importance of their offseason.

"It's huge for our franchise," Colbert said. "When you go 8-8 in back-to-back years, it's a huge disappointment. It's a disappointment not only to our fans, but to the organization. We feel it every day. It's not something we're comfortable with."

The Steelers and Ravens have been two of the elite teams in the NFL for the last decade, appearing in three of the last six Super Bowls and winning two of them. Last season was the first time since 1999 that both teams missed the playoffs.

"I'm sure for organizations that are used to winning, anybody that is not in the playoffs after you've been there, it can be devastating if you let it," Colbert said. "But you have to fight through it and hopefully we're not talking about that next year."

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