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Ravens' Caldwell still longs to be head coach

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Ravens' Caldwell still longs to be head coach

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Jim Caldwell enjoys his job as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, and he's quite good at it.

Before taking over in early December Caldwell had never held the position at any level - yet the Ravens' attack has flourished under his direction. Quarterback Joe Flacco has looked sharp, the play-calling has been unpredictable and Baltimore has scored 90 points in three playoff games to earn a berth in the Super Bowl.

Caldwell's success prompted head coach John Harbaugh to ask him to retain the post in 2013. Caldwell appreciates the opportunity, but has no intention of making ``Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens'' the last line on his resume.

The 58-year-old Caldwell wants to be a head coach. He did it in Indianapolis from 2009-11, and is itching for another crack at the top job in his profession.

``At some point in time, if the Lord wills it, I'd love to be able to do it again,'' Caldwell said Friday. ``But it may not happen. Everybody in our profession is looking for an opportunity to run their own program, and I'm no different than anybody else in that regard.''

Caldwell might have gotten the chance to at least interview for an opening if he wasn't so busy helping the Ravens earn a date with San Francisco in the Super Bowl next Sunday.

``I had a couple of GMs tell me, `If it weren't for your guys' success in the playoffs and continuing to play, then he would have been someone we would have interviewed,'' Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. ``Hopefully next year we're in the same spot, and it will be tough for him to get interviews again. Really, though, I can see him getting that opportunity a year from now.''

Caldwell certainly is a viable candidate for a head coaching job. He took the Colts to the Super Bowl in 2009 and was instrumental in the development of quarterback Peyton Manning. He's also provided the Baltimore offense with a boost after replacing the fired Cam Cameron on Dec. 10.

Some coaches are fiery. Some break clipboards to get a player's attention. Caldwell does none of that.

``Man, he is so humble, laid back,'' Baltimore receiver Jacoby Jones said. ``But he's a smart man. He reads a lot of books, gives you a lot of quotes. He's so diverse.''

The NFL's Rooney Rule was designed to provide diversity among NFL head coaches and GMs, but if Caldwell - an African American with impressive credentials - can't get an interview, then maybe it's time to fix the process.

``I do think that it's something that certainly needs to be revisited, and is going to be revisited,'' Caldwell said. ``I'm not one of the individuals that started that particular drive to do so. There's been a lot of very intelligent men that have looked at this thing and talked about it in depth, so I think that's going to happen.

In the meantime, Caldwell is preparing for the Super Bowl while dozens of other coaches are at home looking forward to next year. So, despite not getting an interview, he has no regrets.

``None whatsoever. I'd certainly rather be right where I am right now, with you asking me this question,'' he said. ``It just doesn't happen that often in your career to be fortunate enough to have this opportunity. I'm thankful. The other things, they'll take care of themselves somewhere down the road.''

Caldwell deserves plenty of credit for Baltimore's surprising run to the Super Bowl. In the six games since he's taken over, the Ravens have averaged 26.2 points and 406.2 yards of offense. During the playoffs, Baltimore has scored touchdowns on eight of 10 trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

``What coach Caldwell has done has kept the offense simple and basic,'' running back Ray Rice said. ``He put the game into Joe Flacco's hands, and Joe has done a great job - phenomenal job - of leading us to where we needed to be. We are right here where we want to be right now.''

And maybe, so is Caldwell. For now, anyway. He expressed genuine appreciation and thanks Friday when talking about being asked to return in 2013.

``I'm excited about it. Certainly very honored and humbled as well,'' he said. ``It's a great opportunity for me, in particular working within this organization. I'm looking forward to it, but right now I'm looking forward to this next ball game we've got coming up. That's the most important thing.''

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Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

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Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Don Martindale wondered if he would ever get a second chance to be an NFL defensive coordinator after his one-and-done disaster with the Denver Broncos in 2010.

The Broncos went 4-12 that season and gave up more points (29.4 per game) and yards (390.8) than any team in the league. Those miserable numbers, not surprisingly, cost Martindale his job.

He latched on with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 as linebackers coach. After working diligently with several stars, including Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley, the 54-year-old Martindale last week was promoted to defensive coordinator.

RELATED: WHO WERE THE RAVENS' MVP'S IN 2017?

To say he's pleased to be in charge of an NFL defense again would be a profound understatement.

"Without a doubt," Martindale said Thursday. "My family knows it. Everybody knows it. My players know it. I can't wait."

His performance in Denver eight years ago is hardly worth putting on a resume, but Martindale believes it was a worthwhile experience.

"Even though the stats were what they were, I was really proud with how we played," he said. "I'm glad I went through that process because I think that makes me a better coach today. It's like I tell my guys: You either win or you learn."

Martindale's new job with the Ravens carries the responsibility of overseeing a unit that has long been among the best in the NFL, thriving under notable leaders such as Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees, who retired on Jan. 1.

"I've been preparing for this job all my life," Martindale said. "It's very humbling, but I understand the pressure and I look forward to the challenge."

Martindale takes over a defense that this season ranked 12th in net yards allowed, first in takeaways (34) and sixth in fewest points allowed (18.9). He has no plans to revamp the unit or change the philosophy, especially since head coach John Harbaugh stressed the need to retain continuity before launching his search for Pees' replacement.

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Martindale will, however, put his own stamp on the unit.

"I think personality-wise, and just calls, there's going to be some things that are the same. And then there are going to be sometimes where I'm going to pressure more," Martindale said. "I just think I have a more aggressive personality in calling the game. Sometimes, too aggressive. That's some of the things I've learned from the past."

His most daunting task will be finding a way to make the defense to come up big late in the game. In 2016, a fourth-quarter collapse in Pittsburgh cost Baltimore a playoff berth. This season, a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minute by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton bounced the Ravens from the postseason chase.

"Our mantra has always been to finish," Martindale said. "We're close. Obviously, the last two years, it's been the last play that's knocked us out of it. We are going to work diligently -- all of us -- with our package and situational football.

"That's going to be the next step, I think, that will skyrocket us. That's the big thing that I see. We were really good. Let's make it great."

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Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

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USA Today Sports

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

The Ravens' season had it's ups and down, but out of it came some bright spots.

The defense continued to prove dominate and the offense found its groove during the second half of the season, but who stood out the most?

Offensive MVP: RB Alex Collins

Collins was a late preseason pickup after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks and Ravens fans are grateful they let him go. After new acquisition Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring on the first drive in Week 1 and Terrance West injured his calf Week 5 in Oakland, Allen emerged as a saving grace. He finished the season with 973 yards, six touchdowns and 212 attempts averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. His longest rushing attempt was 50-yards against the Steelers in Week 4, and then in Week 14, rushed 120-yards on their defense. 

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Defensive MVP: OLB Terrell Suggs

This one was a toss up between Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but considering the level at which Sizzle is playing at in his 15th season, his 2017 performance is MVP worthy.

The 35-year old finished the season with 49 combined tackles, 12 assist, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Suggs ranks 11th in the league in sacks and was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl, something that should be expected from the leader of a defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. During the Ravens' Week 12 matchup, Suggs proved he doesn't age when he strip sacked Texans QB Tom Savage with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, shifting the momentum back to the Ravens who were clinging on to a 23-16 win. He's suffered two Achilles tears and a torn bicep over the last 5.5 seasons but has remained Hall of Fame worthy. As of right now, T-Sizzle has no plans of retiring. 

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Rookie of the Year: CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' 2017 first-round pick stepped up to the plate when starting CB Jimmy Smith's season was over after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. The rookie out of Alabama finished the season with 34 combined tackles, four assists and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Humphrey the fifth-best cover corner in the league. QBs only had a 53.5 rating when they threw in his direction. PFF also gave Humphrey a 82.7 rookie rating. 

Humphrey will continue to prove his worth during the 2018 season if Jimmy Smith is still recovering come Week 1.

RELATED: IMPORTANT 2018 OFFSEASON DATES

Special Teams MVP: P Sam Koch

Koch is in his 12th season with the Ravens and he's continuing to prove how efficient that leg of his is. He had a season long of 67-yards and placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's accuracy earned him AFC special teams player of the week not once, but twice this season. The first came in Week 12 against the Houston Texans when he not only placed five punts inside the 20-yard line, but also faked a punt and threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Moore for a first down. The second honor came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns after placing four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them inside the five. While neither Koch or kicker Justin Tucker were named to the Pro Bowl, Ravens fans never break a sweat when the game is in their hands, or should we say, legs.