Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell: The Quarterback Whisperer

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Joe Flacco

Aug 23, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) looks to pass against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Only a few weeks after Caldwell’s dismissal from the Colts, the Ravens came calling and brought Caldwell on as their new quarterback coach. At the time the popular thought on Joe Flacco was can he become elite? It was on every sports channel and website, magazine, you name it. If you don’t remember this, then good for you because it was very annoying.


Year Cmp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions TD % Int % Team Record
2011 57.6 3,610 20 12 3.70% 2.20% 12 wins, 4 losses

Joe Flacco was on a bit of a downward spiral after a hot start to his career. This is obviously what got the whole ‘is or isn’t he elite?’ debate going. Caldwell was brought on to make Joe Flacco a playoff caliber coach and finally help him get the Ravens over the hump that was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With Caldwell

Year Cmp % Yards Touchdowns Interceptions TD % Int % Team Record
2012 59.7 3,817 22 10 4.10% 1.90% 10 wins, 6 losses

The difference was seen immediately. The Ravens came out of the gate strong and opened up the season with a 5-2 record. The Ravens went from the 19th ranked passing attack to the 15th. Not a huge jump, but good enough to secure a playoff bid despite losing four of their last five games. On the eve of the Ravens playoff appearance, the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and promoted Jim Caldwell to the coordinator position. The Ravens would go on to win the Super Bowl a few weeks later.

Many will point to the Ravens 2013 debacle as their reasoning for Jim Caldwell being a poor offensive coordinator or coach. It’s hard to argue with. The Ravens offense fell all the way to 29th in the league and the team would miss the playoffs and carry on the Super Bowl Hangover narrative. All that can be said in Caldwell’s defense is that when a running back runs for 483 yards less than he did the year before and you lose your starting receiver, left guard and center while dealing with age and injuries along the offensive line- which leads to your quarterback leading the league in getting sacked, it’s pretty hard to maintain any offense.

Joe Flacco and others would go on to say that Jim Caldwell was an integral part of the Ravens success in his time in Baltimore.

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