Jim Caldwell’s debut as the Ravens offensive coordinator did not go swimmingly as the offense went three-and-out in its first five possessions and didn’t record a first down until midway through the second quarter en route to the Ravens’ 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday.
A good portion of the post-game questions centered on the offense’s transition to Caldwell, who succeeded Cam Cameron after he was fired a week ago. Tight end Dennis Pitta conceded that the upheaval in the coaching staff last week gave way to a period of adjustment for the players.
“Well, fortunately for us, there wasn’t a whole lot of turnover in the staff,” he said. “You know, position coaches are the same. That gives us a little bit of consistency from last week to this week. There’s always going to be a learning curve, a little bit of an adjustment.”
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The good news is that the Ravens clinched a playoff berth with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 27-24 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday. But with just two games left on the regular-season schedule and the AFC North title still up for grabs, wide receiver Anquan Boldin said the offense can’t afford to take its time to transition to Caldwell.
“We’re in the heart of the season,” Boldin said. “Playoffs are right around the corner. You don’t have an adjustment period.”
The change at offensive coordinator places pressure on veterans like Boldin, running back Ray Rice and center Matt Birk and especially quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco didn’t disagree with that sentiment.
“The reality is, probably yeah,” Flacco said of whether there’s more of a burden on him to lead the offense. “But the bottom line is, we have to go out there and like [coach] John [Harbaugh] said, we have everything ahead of us. We’re a team that believes we can step up and win games. That’s all we have to do. It will be part of our character and toughness and all that. That will be tested – mine, our team’s – because there’s always pressure on us. And if there’s a little bit more now than there is, I think that’s part of being a tough person and pushing through.”