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NFL considers revisions to Rooney Rule

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NFL considers revisions to Rooney Rule

Jim Caldwell nearly went undefeated as a rookie coach in Indianapolis three years ago and he's one win away from returning to the Super Bowl as an assistant with Baltimore.

Yet Caldwell didn't get one interview for any of the eight coaching vacancies in the NFL this year.

``That's almost impossible for me to comprehend,'' John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Eight teams hired new coaches and seven more filled general manager positions with the New York Jets completing their search by hiring John Idzik. None of those jobs went to a minority.

Now the league is considering revisions to the ``Rooney Rule,'' which mandates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate for front-office and head coaching jobs.

``While there has been full compliance with the interview requirements of the Rooney Rule and we wish the new head coaches and general managers much success, the hiring results this year have been unexpected and reflect a disappointing lack of diversity,'' Robert Gulliver, the NFL's executive vice president of human resources, said in a statement.

``The Rooney Rule has been a valuable tool in expanding diversity and inclusion in hiring practices, but there is more work to do, especially around increasing and strengthening the pipeline of diverse candidates for head coach and senior football executive positions.

``We have already started the process of developing a plan for additional steps that will better ensure more diversity and inclusion on a regular basis in our hiring results. We look forward to discussing these steps with our advisers to ensure that our employment, development and equal opportunity programs are both robust and successful.''

Wooten said his group is already working on a proposal.

``We feel very strongly there's a need to extend the rule,'' Wooten said. ``I'm disappointed, but not discouraged because we have a plan of action. We're putting it together right now and we're going to present our thoughts and ideas to the league. We'll be working together to make something happen.''

Caldwell won his first 14 games with the Colts in 2009 before losing the final two regular-season games after resting Peyton Manning and most of his starters. The Colts reached the Super Bowl only to lose to the New Orleans Saints. Indianapolis went 10-6 the following season and captured another AFC South title, but lost to the New York Jets in a wild-card game. With Manning sidelined all of last season, the Colts went just 2-14 and Caldwell lost his job.

He joined the Ravens as quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator in mid-December. Baltimore has averaged 25.8 points in the five games since Caldwell replaced Cam Cameron. In two playoff wins, the Ravens have scored 62 points, including 38 in a double-overtime win at Denver last week.

``Anybody in this business would certainly like to get to the point where they reach the top of their profession,'' Caldwell said earlier this month. ``They'd love to have an opportunity to be a head coach, and I'm no different.''

But Caldwell has to wait until next year. So does Lovie Smith.

The Chicago Bears fired Smith after he went 10-6. He interviewed with Philadelphia, San Diego and Buffalo. The Eagles chose Chip Kelly, the Bills hired Doug Marrone and the Chargers went with Mike McCoy.

At least Smith had an opportunity. Caldwell didn't. Neither did Winston Moss, an assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers.

``I'm probably more disappointed that Jim Caldwell and Winston Moss didn't get interviews,'' Wooten said. ``Caldwell could've been undefeated his rookie year if (then Colts general manager) Bill Polian doesn't make the decision to bench Manning. And Moss is such an impressive coach. Look at the way he held together the Packers' linebackers with all their injuries.''

Keith Armstrong, special teams coach for Atlanta, interviewed for vacancies with Kansas City, Philadelphia and Chicago. Armstrong wasn't really considered a serious candidate for those teams. Some believe he was granted interviews simply to satisfy the Rooney Rule. The Chiefs hired Andy Reid just a few days after the Eagles fired him. The Bears chose Marc Trestman.

``I would never tell a guy not to take an interview because it's not a realistic interview,'' Wooten said. ``Keith Armstrong is a strong talent evaluator and excellent coach.''

There were a total of 203 minority coaches in the NFL in 2012, including six head coaches. With Smith and Romeo Crennel out, only four minorities will start the 2013 season as head coaches. That's the fewest since 2003.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter:https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

After serving for five seasons as the team's linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.

Enthusiastic doesn't even begin to describe Martindale's attitude about being in charge of the defense.

"Ever since we've made this transition, it's been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it," Martindale said after Wednesday's mandatory minicamp practice.

This isn't the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.

Given a second chance, the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.

"He's just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast," Weddle said. "The idea is to do what's best for the defense, not what's best the individual."

Martindale called Mosley "the quarterback" of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.

"The way we're able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it's more creative, I would say, than where we were last year," Mosley said.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.

"All we're doing is forwarding John's plan," Martindale said. "We're remodeling the package. It's still Ravens football, it's still Ravens defense, but we've streamlined it. It's the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast."

Asked for his take on Martindale's defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, "They're fast and they're furious."

Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale's boss likes what he sees.

"We're doing a lot of neat things on defense, things that are really good," Harbaugh said. "More than ever, we're putting it on our players to make decisions in real time."

Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.

"For the most part, it's been the same," Mosley said. "He always comes in and says, `I have to lead the linebacker room,' and sits down and gets to talking like he's back at linebacker coach."

Told of Mosley's disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, "I've been trying to stay out of there, but you can't help but go in. That's home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well."

And just about everywhere else.

"Where we're going with this thing is really exciting to me," Martindale said, "and I know it's exciting to the players."

In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

"I don't know if Jimmy's like half Wolverine, but he's healed up in half the time of regular human beings," Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.

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