By Zach Helfand
The Baltimore Sun
7:16 PM EDT, August 7, 2012
As football coaches go, Ravens quarterback coach Jim Caldwell is distinctively approachable, easy to talk to. For all the mechanical tinkering expected from Peyton Manning's former quarterback guru, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said it's the ability to communicate with Caldwell that has had the biggest impact in training camp so far.
Flacco joked that it takes two seconds after an introduction to Caldwell to decide that he is a "great guy." That comfort level has allowed Flacco to get more out of smaller sessions with Caldwell.
"The biggest thing has been the conversations that we've had in the classrooms about certain plays," Flacco said. "How we can grow this, how we can do this a little better, maybe a little different way to think about something or go through a progression on one of the plays."
On Tuesday, Caldwell said his work on the field with the quarterbacks has stressed mechanics, details such as footwork, ball handling and center-quarterback exchanges. Manning, who played under Caldwell when Caldwell was the quarterback coach and later the head coach in Indianapolis, developed into one of the most technically sound quarterbacks in the NFL. Tony Dungy, another former head coach of Manning's, has emphasized Caldwell's role in Manning's development in the past.
Flacco, though, doesn't view Caldwell's main role as a mechanical one.
"His biggest thing is to make sure that everything's clear in the quarterback's mind," Flacco said. "That I know what's going on and I'm comfortable with what everybody's doing. And he does a great job of that."
Caldwell called his transition from head coach to position coach, without sarcasm, "a ball" Tuesday. He said he enjoys spending time with players individually, something he couldn't do as much as a head coach, and he credited Flacco's in training camp improvements simply to experience.
"He's just becoming more comfortable with the things he's doing," Caldwell said. "There are a number of things that I think he's seeing that are a lot better than he had done maybe previously."
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