Caldwell To Interview For Lions Head Coaching Job
John Harbaugh said yesterday he anticipated some of his assistants would have an opportunity to pursue coaching promotions with other teams.
The first person set to do so is Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell is expected to interview for the Detroit Lions' head coaching vacancy, according to several outlets, including the Detroit Free Press.
The interview is expected to take place today or tomorrow, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an influential group that promotes diversity and job equality in the NFL, said he also expects former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith to interview for the opening in Detroit.
"We were extremely disappointed last year when Jim didn't get a single interview, especially after reaching the mountaintop with the Ravens and winning the Super Bowl," Wooten told Wilson. "Jim did such a great job with Joe Flacco and him being a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. Jim had a great experience with the Colts. We feel very strongly that he will be a great candidate for the Lions."
The Lions are looking for a candidate who can help their young, talented quarterback Matthew Stafford take his game to the next level.
After coaching quarterback Peyton Manning for a decade, and aiding Flacco in his Super Bowl MVP run, Caldwell could be a prime candidate in Detroit. Caldwell has won two Super Bowls as an assistant coach with the Indianapolis Colts and Ravens, and he reached another as the head coach of the Colts.
"Jim can do great things for Stafford," said Wooten. "He can bring some discipline to Detroit that they definitely need."
The Lions fired Jim Schwartz as their head coach Monday, one day after they ended a surprising late-season slide. After starting 6-3, the Lions finished their season at 7-9.
In addition to Caldwell and Smith, another candidate to fill the vacancy is San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, according to ESPN. Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Tom Cable was also rumored to be in the running, but CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora said he is not actually a candidate.
"The Lions need a coach who can take Stafford and turn him from what he is now (a talented but error-prone passer) into a franchise quarterback," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith.
"The Lions would love to find a coach who can make Stafford look like Manning. The question about Caldwell as a potential coach of the Lions is whether Manning became the quarterback he is because of Caldwell's coaching, or whether Caldwell was just lucky enough to get hired by a team that had Peyton Manning."
Ravens May Have Leverage In Suggs Contract Restructure
Because of his $7.8 million cap number in 2014 and his quiet performance in the second half of 2013, some are pointing to a potential release of six-time Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs.
But ESPN's Jamison Hensley is not on board with that idea.
He thinks losing the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year would further hurt a depleting pass rush and the locker room would miss a respected leader.
"In my opinion, Suggs remains with the Ravens," Hensley wrote.
However, Hensley does see a potential restructure of Suggs' contract. A restructure would not only lessen his salary-cap hit, but it also increases Suggs' chances of finishing his career with the team that drafted him in 2003.
And the Ravens may have some power in getting a new deal done.
"The team has some leverage here considering Suggs is 31 and fewer teams are going to invest a lot of money in pass rushers over the age of 30," Hensley wrote. "Plus, there are legitimate concerns about Suggs' endurance (his snaps declined in the final month of the season) and lack of impact plays down the stretch. A new deal seems possible in this situation."
He added: "Outside of Suggs, no one else among the top tier of salary-cap numbers are in danger of getting cut. [Haloti] Ngata has the largest cap number in 2014 at $16 million, but the Ravens would only save $1 million by releasing him. The same with running back Ray Rice, who has a $8.75 cap number but represents no savings if cut."
Realistic To Think Rice Can Bounce Back?
Knowing that Rice is practically a guarantee to return next year, Harbaugh said he expects Rice to return to being one of the best backs in the NFL.
How realistic is that expectation?
With improved health and a better offensive line, Hensley thinks a strong return is possible. He explains in the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser" at the top of the page).
Steelers Fan Celebrates Playoff Berth Early, Gets Laughed At
The only thing that would make Ravens fans grin wider this morning is a sixth-consecutive playoff berth.
But that isn't happening, so this hilarious video will serve as a nice consolation prize.
A Pittsburgh Steelers fan got cocky when the Chiefs were set up to kick a game-winning field goal, which would have sent the Steelers to the playoffs. He was dancing around and preaching about how he* *always knew his team would advance.
"Pittsburgh Steelers fans are usually a arrogant confident bunch, so it's easy to understand why the guy in the video below felt so strongly that the Chiefs would hit a last-second field goal against the Chargers last Sunday and, in turn, send his team to the playoffs," wrote Fox Sports' Andy Nesbitt.
Buuuuut, the Chiefs' Ryan Succop missed the field goal, and the Chargers advanced, not the Steelers.
The best parts of the video are the Steelers fan throwing his hat to the ground after the miss, his buddy laughing hysterically and some random lady dancing into the video.
- @Artj97: Happy New Year's Everybody!!! Please be smart and safe tonight. 2014 will be an awesome year. #cantwait ( bart scott voice) lol [Twitter]
- @BaltimoreLuke: Unsurprisingly, John Harbaugh said he will be rooting for brother Jim and the #49ers in the postseason. [Twitter]
- Harbaugh called some of the offseason practice limits on younger players 'un-American.' [NFL Network]
- In the picture below, Flacco was spotted dining out at the California Pizza Kitchen in Hunt Valley with teammate Dennis Pitta. Let's hope the Ravens can keep Pitta in town so the two can enjoy more dinners and more touchdown connections together. [TerezOwens.com]