The Baltimore Ravens’ front office relieved many fans Monday morning when they announced the dismissal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The replacement for Cameron will be the Ravens’ quarterback coach and former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell has never been an offensive coordinator, but most certainly has some credentials when you look at the years he spent in Indy, learning from the high-octane, Peyton Manning led offense.
For the Ravens’ management, promoting from within the organization was the obvious choice as this coaching change came during the season. However, this may lead some to believe that Caldwell is only a temporary solution that may need to be fixed this offseason.
“This is an opportunity for us to try and win some football games…anything else is just something else,” said John Harbaugh when asked if this is an audition for Caldwell.
If Caldwell doesn’t work out and the Ravens decide to go in a different direction, here are some possible candidates to fill the job in 2013:
1. Norv Turner
Norv Turner is currently the head coach of the San Diego Chargers, but his job is anything but secure. Rumors have been spreading like wildfire all year that Turner will be fired at the end of this season. If these rumors turn out to be true, the Ravens would most likely look to interview with him.
Turner was the OC for the Dallas Cowboys team in the early 90s that featured Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin. He was credited for a lot of their success and helped shape Aikman into a hall of fame quarterback. He also served as the OC for the Dolphins, 49ers, and Chargers and is noted as one of the most brilliant offensive-minded coaches in the NFL. If Turner does hit the coaching market, there’ll be a host of teams looking to get him on their staff.
2. Hue Jackson
Hue Jackson was the Ravens’ quarterback coach from 2008-2009, where he had plenty of time to build a relationship with Joe Flacco. He was then hired as the offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders and promoted as the head coach the following year before being fired. He now resides in Cincinnati as an assistant special teams and assistant defensive back coach.
Jackson would fit very well in Baltimore given his previous time spent there and relationship with Flacco. Jackson is also very familiar with the Ravens’ offensive system and has experience coaching every offensive skill position. During his first stint in Cincinnati, he was credited with the success of the prolific Chad Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmanzadeh tandem, and greatly improved their all-around games. With the number of young receivers on the Ravens’ roster, Jackson would have a great group to work with and build into something special.
3. Brad Childress
Many believed that Brad Childress would become the Ravens’ offensive coordinator this past offseason. There were rumors that Cameron was going to be fired after 2011 and Childress was the obvious choice to replace him given his ties with John Harbaugh in Philadelphia. However, the Ravens choose to stick with Cameron and the Cleveland Browns ended up snagging Childress as their offensive coordinator in 2012.
It wouldn’t make much sense for Brad Childress to switch coaching jobs this offseason unless he was being promoted to a head coaching position. However, it seems highly likely that Browns’ head coach Pat Shurmur will be fired this offseason. If that becomes the case, and Brad Childress is not offered the position, than he may want out of Cleveland as they continue to rebuild. Additionally, the new head coach may want to do some reorganizing of the coaching staff, leaving “Chilly” looking for a job. A Baltimore gig would be enticing for Childress and his offensive knowledge would be welcomed.
4. Jim Zorn
While currently the quarterbacks’ coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Jim Zorn held that same position in Baltimore during 2010 before being fired after one season. During that time, Zorn and Flacco built up a great rapport and Flacco was disappointed to see Zorn go. The main reason for Zorn’s departure is rumored to stem from the now-fired Cameron. Cameron was apparently not too happy with how well Flacco and Zorn got along and wanted him out.
While working with Zorn, Flacco put up career bests in touchdowns (25), quarterback rating (93.6), and interceptions (10). Even if Caldwell remains the Ravens’ long-term offensive coordinator, Zorn could still return to the Ravens to fill the now-void quarterback coach position.
5. Andy Reid
This is probably a little farfetched. Reid is currently the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and his job security is at an all-time low right now. While rumors of him being fired at season’s end have been floating around for the past few years, a lot of people seem to think that this is his final year in Philly. Given the amount of tenure that Reid has and his success in the past, it probably won’t be long before he finds another head coaching job. However, if for some reason he decides to go the assistant route, the Ravens could consider him as an offensive coordinator.
However, it would be a little awkward for Harbaugh, who used to coach under Reid as the Eagles’ special teams coordinator and defensive back’s coach from 1999 to 2007. For this reason, I consider this scenario highly unlikely, although Reid would make an excellent offensive coordinator.
Of course, we have yet to see Jim Caldwell’s offensive in action so this remains pure speculation. Regardless of how he performs, I do expect the Ravens’ front offense to entertain the thought of looking for another, more experienced, offensive coordinator this offseason.