With quarterback, Joe Flacco, now entering the prime of his career, the Baltimore Ravens have decided to bring in a fresh face to work with the soon-to-be 5th year veteran as well as former collegiate stand-out, Tyrod Taylor. To this day, controversy still surrounds former Ravens quarterback coach, Jim Zorn, and why he was released after seemingly helping Flacco to his best statistical year. After leaving the quarterback coach position vacant this season, the organization was happy to welcome Jim Caldwell into their ranks.
During Super Bowl week, former Indy head coach, Tony Dungy, took a few minutes to answer questions that varied from becoming a member of the media to how he feels about Peyton Manning’s health and ability to still play football.
During the interview, Dungy had his take on how Caldwell can help the Ravens, saying this:
"Jim will be great for him (Flacco). He’s the best quarterback coach I’ve ever been around, and he did a great job here (Indy) for me, helped us to a Super Bowl and I know that’s going to be his goal in Baltimore."
(Read more what Jim Caldwell might bring to the Ravens after the 'Jump')
Now, I don’t know Dungy personally, but coming from the former head coach, that’s a pretty strong endorsement. Dungy, who’s known as a man of strong convictions and beliefs, doesn’t seem like the type to take his words lightly and won’t say anything he doesn’t truly believe himself.
How instrumental Caldwell was in building Peyton Manning into what he is today is a hard question to answer. No one can answer that but Caldwell or Manning himself. It should however be viewed as a good thing that Caldwell was able to work so closely with one of the all-time greats. If anything, it’s obvious that Peyton Manning has perhaps the best grip on modern offenses out of any player currently in professional football.
From watching Indy’s offense with Manning running the show, it’s not a stretch to assume that as Ravens fans, we’ll see some of those offensive principles come here to Baltimore via Caldwell. We could see some of these new principles installed in the offense in the future: lots of hurry up play calling, shorter timing routes, more audibles at the line of scrimmage, more usage of tight ends, and more shot-gun formation. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some of these ideas work their way into a Ravens offense that is in serious need of a system re-boot. Simple little things like the use of shot-gun formations and hurry up sets could make a world of difference.
One issue that was clear this year among the offense was communication. Something so simple as everyone not being on the same page can be devastating. Hopefully with Jim Caldwell here to bridge the gap between Cameron and Flacco, the offense as a whole could run smoother, much like what we saw while Jim Zorn was wearing purple and black. Another thing to keep in mind is that Peyton Manning has some of the best quarterback technique ever seen on a football field. From his posture, foot movement, quick release, and ability to read a defense, I’m hoping that Caldwell will bring some of these ideals to Joe Flacco and the offense. It can only help.
Although the questions will always be raised about how much Caldwell had to do with the elder Manning’s success, Manning did say this about Caldwell:
"He’s been very influential on me. Very detail-oriented. Very disciplined. He’s really helped me."
Even though those words are very few and lack real substance, Caldwell’s track record is a good one. He was very instrumental in the development of Kerry Collins at Penn State and spent a year coaching Brad Johnson with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And of course, he was Manning’s quarterback coach for three out of the four years in which Peyton won the MVP award. Though his track record may speak for itself, the Ravens brass decided to get inside information on Caldwell from around the league before hiring him as expressed by John Harbaugh:
"We had a chance to do some research around the league and also just with him directly, and to me, it became very obvious – and to all of us it became very obvious – it's a perfect fit as we go forward. It's going to be the best thing for everybody, offensively, and just for the growth of our offense."
Hopefully Jim Caldwell with be a positive addition to the Ravens. With his knowledge and experience, maybe he is just what the Ravens’ offense needs to take off and realize its full potential. After all, there’s a reason he’s been called a "QB Whisperer", right?
With so much controversy surrounding Peyton Manning and Indy, here’s a parody video on how Coach Caldwell and Manning ran the team while Manning was still suiting up.
WARNING: Video contains some language that may be considered inappropriate for certain viewers.