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.''

AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

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AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

The Ravens can expect to see Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison as an opponent again in 2016. Harrison confirmed on his Instagram account Monday that he would return for another season.

Harrison will turn 38 years old Wednesday (May 4), but he was still effective in 2015 with five sacks and 40 tackles playing in the Steelers’ linebacker rotation. With his announcement that he was returning, Harrison wrote “I’m feeling just like a fine wine. Getting better with age.”

Despite Harrison’s age, the Steelers believe they got younger and better on defense through the draft. Five of the Steelers’ seven picks were on defense – cornerback Artie Burns (first round), safety Sean Davis (second), defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (third round), outside linebacker Travis Feeney (sixth round), and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich (seventh round).  

Clearly, there will be plenty of new names in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, with both teams looking to get younger and faster. However, Harrison plans to be part of the mix for at least another season. The Ravens host the Steelers in Week 9, and visit the Steelers on Christmas afternoon.

MORE RAVENS: BISCIOTTI GETS HIS WISH WITH BOLSTERED PASS RUSH

Bisciotti gets his wish with draft class full of pass rushers

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Bisciotti gets his wish with draft class full of pass rushers

At the team's "State of the Ravens" end-of-season news conference, owner Steve Bisciotti made no bones about where he thought the Ravens needed to improve in 2016: rushing the passer.

So although Bisciotti didn't speak to the media after the draft, he had to be pleased with the results.

With two of their first three picks, the Ravens selected players who figure to pressure the quarterback -- Boise State linebacker Kamalei Correa and Brigham Young defensive end Bronson Kaufusi.

"They both have pass rush ability," coach John Harbaugh said. "They both get sacks, they are both high-motor players and high-energy pass rushers. These two guys are going to run to the ball. These two guys are going to run to the ball 100 miles an hour every single play. That’s really important on defense.”

The next day, the Ravens added Grand Valley State defensive end Matt Judon -- who had 20 sacks last year -- in the fifth round. Just for good measure, they also reportedly agreed to sign undrafted rookie linebacker Victor Ochi of Stony Brook, who led the Football Championship Subdivision with 13 sacks.

Harbaugh said after the draft that "I don't think it was a secret" that Bisciotti wanted the Ravens to upgrade the pass rush, "and we were able to fill (that need). I’m really fired up about that. I’m really excited about these guys getting to the quarterback.”

Bisciotti said in January that losing Terrell Suggs to a season-ending injury in Week 1 had a "domino effect" that greatly disrupted the defense. Elvis Dumervil was forced into more of a three-down role, and Courtney Upshaw never came close to replacing Suggs' sack numbers. Dumervil dropped from 17 sacks to six, and overall the Ravens dropped from 49 sacks in 2014 to 37 last season.

When the pass rush failed to pressure the quarterback, coverage linebackers or defensive backs were frequently exposed.

"I think I have a true appreciation of what pressure means, and so that’s what I think we need to do," Bisciotti had said in January. "I think we need to focus on our free agency and our draft, and I think we have to have multiple pass rushers in order to let everybody else be effective.”

Suggs turns 34 in October and is coming off his second major Achilles injury. Dumervil is 32. So the need to develop good young pass rushers is obvious. The Ravens hope they took a big step in that direction over the weekend.

MORE RAVENS: EVALUATING ALL FIVE 4TH-ROUND SELECTIONS

Will Ravens' record-setting fourth-round bonanza live up to the hype?

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Will Ravens' record-setting fourth-round bonanza live up to the hype?

Will the Ravens’ fourth-round haul live up to the hype?

No team in NFL history had ever made five fourth-round picks, and some felt the Ravens hit on all of them. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay says, “This might be the best fourth round I’ve ever seen from a team.”

Here’s a closer look at how the five players the Ravens selected in Round 4 could fit in next season:

Tavon Young, CB, Temple (104th overall)

Young will compete for a nickel corner spot as a rookie. Barring injuries, the only certainty about the Ravens secondary is Jimmy Smith starting at one corner and Eric Weddle starting at safety. Young will compete for playing time with Shareece Wright, Kyle Arrington, Will Davis, and others. But if Young plays regularly as a rookie and helps them win games, it’s a steal.

Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati (107)

Moore has legit deep speed, joining Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace as receivers that can stretch the field for quarterback Joe Flacco. Think about it, the Ravens didn’t’ have Perriman, Wallace, or Moore on the field last season. If Moore has a strong training camp, the Ravens will find a way to get him some opportunities. Remember the big plays Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones made during the Super Bowl year? The Ravens hope Wallace, Perriman, and Moore provide that kind of impact.

Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska (130)

If the Ravens part with left tackle Eugene Monroe, Lewis could become the backup at left tackle behind first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. Lewis could also be the backup to right tackle Rick Wagner. Either way, Lewis could be one injury away from playing.

Willie Henry, DT, Michigan (132)

He’s the fourth-rounder with the hardest path to immediate playing time. The Ravens are deep at defensive tackle with Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, and Carl Davis. But if Henry shows he can help as a run stopper, he’ll be part of the defensive line rotation.

Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech (134)

Some thought Dixon was the best pass-catching back in the draft. Justin Forsett will enter camp as the starter, but the Ravens want to keep him fresh. It’s a crowded running back group right now, but Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro both saw playing time as rookie running backs. Dixon will too, if he shows he’s ready to make plays.

MORE RAVENS: A WAY TOO EARLY NFL DRAFT TOP 10