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Caldwell relishes chances to run Ravens offense


Caldwell relishes chances to run Ravens offense

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Don't expect Jim Caldwell to incorporate the triple-option or a variety of trick plays in his first NFL game as an offensive coordinator.

Caldwell grabbed the reins of the Baltimore Ravens' offense on Monday after head coach John Harbaugh fired Cam Cameron. Caldwell was in his first year as Baltimore's quarterbacks coach, a job he will retain moving forward.

For his first assignment as an offensive coordinator, the 57-year-old Caldwell will be asked to oversee and direct an attack that must outdo Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, whom Caldwell coached in Indianapolis.

``It may seem like a bit of a novelty, but it isn't.,'' Caldwell said Thursday. ``We both have a job to do.''

Caldwell takes over a unit that has is ranked 18th in total yardage and has been inconsistent throughout the season. With only three weeks to go, he intends to tweak the offense rather than overhaul it.

``Obviously there's not going to be a system change of any sort,'' he said. ``I'll add a few wrinkles here and there. For the most part, I think the guys are comfortable with what we do. I've got to find what best suits our personnel and utilize that. Do the things that we do best.''

Cameron was criticized for not using running back Ray Rice enough, and others questioned whether quarterback Joe Flacco showed improvement from a year ago. Caldwell wouldn't tip his hand on how he intends to utilize either player, but it appears as if he can't wait to put his stamp on a unit with plenty of weapons.

``The reason why I coach is that I have a great passion for the game,'' he said. ``I love a challenge. There is nothing about professional football that's easy. So it's going to require everything you have and just a little bit more. That's what makes me excited about what we're doing.''

His only wish was that this opportunity came under different circumstances.

``The situation is tough. I hate to see a colleague lose his job,'' Caldwell said. ``I've been fired a few times as well. That's the tough part of it. But nevertheless I certainly am excited about having the opportunity to work with some outstanding men in a great organization with outstanding people surrounding me. Let's see what we can do.''

Flacco, like many players on the team, was stunned to see Cameron dismissed - especially at a time when the Ravens needed only one more win to clinch a fifth consecutive playoff berth. But Baltimore (9-4) has lost two in a row, and with a defense depleted by injury, it was time for the offense to take charge and make things happen.

``I think as an offense, we have to look at ourselves and see what we can do to be better,'' Flacco said. ``Obviously, we weren't good enough.''

With Caldwell at the helm, things won't be much different - although he intends to work in the booth rather than on the sideline, as Cameron did.

``Anytime you've been coaching quarterbacks, the offense runs through you,'' Caldwell said. ``That's what I've always been excited about.''

Quite a change for a guy who was a four-year starter at defensive back for Iowa from 1973-76 and began his coaching career working with the defense.

``I went to the offensive side of the ball to get a good sense of balance and things of that nature,'' Caldwell said. ``I wanted to really know offensive football. So the great majority of the latter part of my career has been on offense. There's not anything that you should not know if you're coaching the quarterbacks because you're involved in every situation.''

Now, though, he will be responsible for calling the plays. Whether he maintains the job after this season remains to be seen.

``You know what? I don't look any further than the next day,'' he said. ``Nothing's promised to you. In the Bible it tells you that. What I do is do my job. We'll worry about the other things down the road.''

Caldwell was head coach at Indianapolis from 2009-11. He was fired after the team went 2-14 in 2011, but still harbors hopes of getting another chance.

``I think if you're in this business that should always be your goal. Right?'' he said. ``I don't think I'll ever lose that particular desire until the point in time when they run me out of this business.''


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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?