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Jim Caldwell Develops Quarterbacks

Posted by Gabe Hiatt on January 5, 2014 – 4:55 pm



Jim Caldwell has fostered talented quarterbacks.

Peyton Manning is the obvious example. The 2012 Super Bowl edition of Joe Flacco, Redskins emigrant Brad Johnson and a collegiate Kerry Collins have also succeeded under Caldwell.

On Sunday, Caldwell became the second confirmed head coach candidate to interview with the Redskins, a franchise looking to develop its own nascent quarterback.

Super Bowl FootballIronically, the reputation of Caldwell’s best student could sell him short.

Caldwell coached quarterbacks for seven years in Indianapolis. In a six year span From 2002-2007, Manning completed more passes, posted a higher completions percentage and threw for more yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback.

But Manning is so cerebral, so autonomous, that his position coaches and coordinators might be seen as spectators.

Manning said that wasn’t the case with Caldwell. Their relationship as quarterback and position coach – and later head coach – was symbiotic.

“Jim Caldwell had a tremendous influence on me as my quarterbacks coach,” Manning told denverbroncos.com last season.

“He was very organized, very detail-oriented, which I’m a fan of that philosophy, and he and I got into a good routine in meetings and on the practice field every day for the time we were together when he was my quarterbacks coach.

“I really felt he took my game to another level.”


It should be noted that in 2011, with Manning sitting our for the season, three quarterbacks combined to lead the Colts to a 2-14 season. Caldwell was dismissed so the franchise could move in another direction, but Indianapolis had allocated little resources or practice snaps to building depth behind Manning.

The coach rebounded in Baltimore.

With Caldwell serving as offensive coordinator, the Ravens beat Manning’s Broncos in the 2012 postseason. On media day for Super Bowl XLVII victory, Caldwell talked about how working with Manning helped him improve.

“We did a lot of things that I think were good,” Caldwell said. “The way in which we approached our preparation I thought was good. Those things that I thought were helpful we’ve tried to incorporate.”


After Caldwell assumed play-calling duties for the Ravens, Flacco went on a tear. The quarterback’s 2012 postseason was only matched by Joe Montana. Both players threw 11 touchdowns with no interceptions in Super Bowl runs.

Flacco set a new career high with 3,912 yards passing in 2013, but threw more interceptions (22) than touchdowns (19) for the first time in his career.

BaltimoreRavens.com columnist John Eisenberg does not attribute that performance to Caldwell.

“He couldn’t help that his running game practically disappeared, or that his top tight end suffered a serious injury, or that the front office traded his quarterback’s favorite wideout, or that his quarterback established a career high in interceptions,” Eisenberg wrote.


Caldwell is looking for a promotion in Washington or elsewhere. He interviewed in Detroit last week, where he reportedly watched film with Matthew Stafford.

In addition to three years as head coach in Indianapolis, where he succeeded Tony Dungy, Caldwell has eight years of experience as a head coach at Wake Forest and 15 years as a collegiate assistant.

Here’s a look at a few quarterbacks under Caldwell:

Peyton Manning: 

2002-2008 (Caldwell Assistant Head Coach / Quarterbacks)

-2,482 completions
-66.5 completion percentage
-29,210 yards passing
-222 TD
-100.5 passer rating
-Three NFL MVP awards
-Super Bowl MVP

2009-2011 (Caldwell Head Coach)

*Missed 2011 due to neck injury
-843 completions
-67.6 completion percentage
-9,200 yards passing
-66 TD

Joe Flacco

2012 (Caldwell Quarterbacks / Interim Offensive Coordinator)

-317 completions (career high until 2013)
-59.7 completion percentage
-3,817 yards passing (career high until 2013)
-22 TD
-Super Bowl MVP

2013 (Caldwell Offensive Coordinator)

-362 completions (career high)
-59.0 completion percentage
-3,912 yards passing (career high)
-19 TD
-22 INT (career high)

Brad Johnson

2001 (Caldwell Quarterbacks Coach)

-340 completions (second-best in 17-year career)
-60.8 completion percentage
-3,406 yards passing (third best in career)
-13 TD

Finally, if your head coaching criteria includes oratory delivery, you can watch Caldwell recite a poem.

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