Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell accepted the Detroit Lions’ head coaching position Tuesday, officially filling the vacancy left after the Lions fired Jim Schwartz (Mount St. Joe) at the conclusion of the 2013 regular season.
After San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt agreed to become the head coach of the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day, the Lions reportedly turned their attention to Caldwell, who interviewed for their vacancy earlier this month. He also interviewed for head coach openings with Washington and Tennessee, positions that have since been filled.
The former Indianapolis Colts head coach received much praise for the job he did with the Baltimore offense in helping the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII after being promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator on Dec. 10, 2012. However, his offense struggled mightily in 2013 as the Ravens finished 29th in total yards and 25th in points scored while also setting franchise lows in rushing yards and yards per carry.
Some had called for a change at offensive coordinator after the Ravens’ immense struggles on that side of the ball, but Caldwell’s track record in Indianapolis as well as his work late in the 2012 season make him a viable candidate for another head coaching opportunity. The Ravens were mum on Caldwell’s status for the 2014 season to avoid compromising his chances to obtain a head coach position.
It remains to be seen who among the Ravens’ assistant coaches might be joining Caldwell in Detroit, but secondary coach Teryl Austin is expected to become the Lions’ new defensive coordinator. Other names rumored to potentially join Caldwell on the Lions staff are former running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery and offensive line coach Andy Moeller, whose future remains in limbo after last week’s announcement that run-game coordinator Juan Castillo would remain with the Ravens under Moeller’s title of offensive line coach.
The most logical in-house candidate to replace Caldwell as offensive coordinator would be wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, who served as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator in 2007. However, the Ravens are likely to seriously explore options outside the organization to jump-start an offense expected to receive a significant facelift this offseason.
Preliminary names that could be considered for the position include former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski, Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and former Vikings head coach Brad Childress.