Last week’s departure of six-year Ravens running back coach Wilbert Montgomery isn’t expected to be the only change on John Harbaugh’s coaching staff. However, several other moves may hinge on the future of offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.
Caldwell has interviewed for both the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins head coaching jobs. Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation chairman John Wooten, who has been communicating with Caldwell during the process, told the Sun’s Aaron Wilson that both interviews went well and that Caldwell felt as good about the Redskins interview as the Lions one.
It appears that Caldwell, the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, has a legitimate shot at landing another head coaching job, though reports indicate that he may not be the Lions’ top choice. ESPN reported yesterday that the Lions’ opening is Ken Whisenhunt’s to lose. However, the Lions would have to wait at least another week to hire Whisenhunt, the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers.
Per league rules, coaches with teams still in the playoffs, which the Chargers are after their upset of the Cincinnatti Bengals yesterday, can interview this week but they cannot be officially hired until their team’s season ends. If Whisenhunt is indeed the Lions’ top choice, that could complicate things both for Detroit and for the Ravens who would be left in a waiting pattern not knowing if Caldwell will return.
Also, if he goes, there’s a good chance Caldwell will take at least one Ravens’ assistant with him. Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin is a top candidate to be Caldwell’s defensive coordinator if Caldwell lands a head coaching job. His departure would also be a blow to the Ravens.
Austin has been the Ravens’ secondary coach the past three years and the improvement of cornerbacks like Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith under his tutelage reflects well on the job Austin has done in Baltimore. Much like Chuck Pagano, who was formerly the Ravens’ secondary coach before he became their defensive coordinator and then later was hired as the Colts’ head coach, Austin is viewed around the league as a future defensive coordinator.
So, with five head coaching openings still out there and many staffs around the league still in flux, the Ravens may struggle to hold onto him whether Caldwell gets a head coaching job or not.
Then, there is the case of run game coordinator Juan Castillo, whose status is uncertain after the Ravens set a franchise record for fewest rushing yards in a season. It appears that both sides are open to a parting of ways and Castillo, who has long been regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, shouldn’t have a problem finding a role elsewhere.
If Castillo leaves, it’s unclear if the Ravens would hire another offensive line coach/run game coordinator, or just let Andy Moeller resume the responsibilities and the authority that he had before Castillo’s arrival.