The dominos have begun to fall in the NFL coaching carousel. After the Chargers lost to the Broncos on Sunday Ken Whisenhunt, the most sought after coach left on the market, was able to make his decision. Whisenhunt chose the Tennessee Titans, leaving the Detroit Lions to move on to their next candidate. That candidate turned out to be Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell. There had been rumors of this happening, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it is now official.
With Caldwell moving on, the Ravens first will have to see if Caldwell intends on taking any of the Ravens current coaches and give them promotions on the Lions staff. It has been reported that Caldwell is very high on defensive backs coach Terryl Austin and would like to make him the Lions new Defensive Coordinator. That is something to keep an eye on as Caldwell begins to fill out his staff.
As for the Ravens, they now have a big decision to make. They need to find a new offensive coordinator, and there are many ways for them to go about this. They could promote from within, as wide receivers coach Jim Hostler has experience as an offensive coordinator and appears to have a good relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens could choose to hire a proven offensive coordinator like Norv Turner, Rob Chudzinski, or Gary Kubiak. Or they could choose to promote a offensive position coach from another team that they are high on. Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo has been garnering a lot of attention from teams for the work he has done with Aaron Rodgers.
Regardless of who the Ravens choose to hire, the new man must be able to work with Flacco. Flacco didn’t have a great working relationship with former coordinator Cam Cameron, and by the end of Cameron’s run with the team they didn’t speak that much. The new coach must have a strong personality, as I believe that trait meshes well with Flacco’s personality. Two of Flacco’s favorite coaches were Hue Jackson and Jim Zorn, two guys that had no problem speaking their minds to Flacco. Flacco needs tough love and needs to be challenged by his new coordinator. Just look at what has happened in Pittsburgh with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley. They have had their troubles working together at first, but they are producing as, Haley has challenged Roethlisberger to do new things and the quarterback has responded by playing some of his best football in the past couple of years.
Not only do the Ravens need to find a new offensive coordinator, but I believe if the offense if going to have more success next year they will also need to hire a quarterbacks coach. The Ravens didn’t have a quarterbacks coach last year and I think they missed out, because when the offense was on the sidelines, Flacco didn’t have a coach going over the previous drive, dissecting at pictures, or discussing what to do next. As I mentioned, I think Flacco has thrived when he has had a position coach and believe it is a necessity for this team. They have invested a lot in Flacco, and even though I believe Flacco is among the best in the league, he has struggled to play consistent football in the regular season.
The Ravens brass is currently meeting in Florida to discuss the offseason plan and you know that this topic is now the hot one for the team’s leaders. They know this decision is the biggest one they will make since firing Cameron in the middle of the season two seasons ago. They know this will determine whether or not the offense will able to improve enough from an abysmal season and get back to the playoffs. They know this will play a role in the future production of their franchise quarterback and star running back, Ray Rice, who had his worst year as a pro. They know they can’t get this wrong, or else they will be back in Florida around this time to have their team meeting instead of preparing for the AFC championship game.