Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell remains a strong contender for the Detroit Lions' head coaching vacancy, according to Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten.
However, Wooten stopped short of characterizing Caldwell as the frontrunner for the Lions' job in a telephone interview Monday night with The Baltimore Sun. Wooten said that the former Indianapolis Colts head coach has maintained a good dialogue with Lions team officials throughout the process and is waiting to hear from the NFC North franchise.
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"Jim is a very strong candidate for the Lions," Wooten said. "Detroit has said they wanted to bring back two guys to meet with ownership and are supposed to do that [Monday] and [Tuesday]. We are waiting to hear back from them about Jim and whether it's a 'yes' or 'no' for him for the job. Everything has gone very well between Jim and the Lions, and we're waiting to hear. I feel good about how things are going, but nothing is final."
Caldwell interviewed with the Lions first after the Ravens' season ended, followed by interviews with the Washington Redskins, who hired Jay Gruden, and the Tennessee Titans, who have hired San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
Whisenhunt was regarded at one time as the frontrunner for the Lions' job, but is now out of the picture with his acceptance of the Titans' head-coaching position. The Lions are still considering former Titans coach Mike Munchak, who interviewed for the job.
Caldwell met with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford along with Lions vice chairman Bill Ford, Jr. about a vacancy created when the team fired Jim Schwartz.
Caldwell had an extensive plan for improvement for Stafford, who passed for 4,650 yards, 29 touchdowns and 19 interceptions with an 84.2 passer rating this past season.
If Caldwell lands the Detroit job, he could take some Ravens assistant coaches with him.
And the Ravens would need a new offensive coordinator.
That could come from an outside hire or the Ravens could consider promoting receivers coach Jim Hostler, who has prior offensive coordinator experience with the San Francisco 49ers.
Caldwell won a Super Bowl as an assistant with the Colts and reached another one as a head coach, going 14-2 in the regular season in his first season as head coach. He coached quarterback Peyton Manning for a decade with the Colts making nine consecutive playoff appearances and winning AFC South division titles.
Caldwell was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in 2012, leading a resurgent offense in the postseason as Joe Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions during four playoff games as he was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVII.
The Ravens' offense dipped to 29th in total offense this past season as Flacco had a franchise-record 22 interceptions and running back Ray Rice rushed for 660 yards.
Caldwell was fired by the Colts in 2011 after going 2-14 with Manning sidelined after undergoing neck surgery.
The former Wake Forest head coach was then hired by the Ravens as quarterbacks coach.