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Jim Caldwell leaves Dolphins but still has interest in coaching

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Philadelphia Eagles v Detroit Lions

The Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive coordinator search has reached multiple dead ends at this point with James Urban opting to stay with the Baltimore Ravens and Graham Harrell choosing to remain at USC. There’s also thought that the Kansas City Chiefs might block the Eagles from interviewing Mike Kafka.

But while other doors have closed, another has opened.

Jim Caldwell will NOT return to the Miami Dolphins in 2020 but does still want to coach, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.

Caldwell originally joined Brian Flores’ staff last year with the title of “assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach” before taking an indefinite leave of absence in July due to health issues. Caldwell never returned to coaching in 2019 and instead served as a consultant.

Now that the 65-year-old has had some time off to get better, he’s ready to return. And that’s good news for the Eagles.

ESPN’s Tim McManus previously reported Caldwell is one of two names he’s hearing for the Eagles’ offensive coordinator vacancy. The other was Washington assistant Kevin O’Connell, who was hired by the Los Angeles Rams.

Here’s what we previously wrote about the prospect of hiring Caldwell:

We previously mentioned Caldwell as a Frank Reich replacement in 2018. The allure is that quarterbacks have excelled when he’s worked with them.

Caldwell was the Indianapolis Colts’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks from 2002 through 2008. Peyton Manning’s accomplishments in that seven-year span: two-time NFL MVP, one-time Super Bowl MVP, four-time first-team All Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler. Pretty good. Caldwell was promoted to head coach and went 24-8 in his first two seasons before Manning missed the 2011 season with a neck injury and the Colts went 2-14.

Caldwell landed with the Baltimore Ravens, where he served as their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2012 through 2013. Joe Flacco went on an ELITE tear in the 2013 playoffs en route to a Super Bowl win. His numbers from that run : 14 TD, 0 INT, 117.2 passer rating. Just another mark in Caldwell’s favor.

Caldwell’s success in Baltimore inspired the Detroit Lions to give him a second chance as a head coach. The Lions went 36-28 over four years before firing him. Matthew Stafford made the only Pro Bowl of his career in Caldwell’s first year on the job and posted a 93.7 overall passer rating during the four years.

I’m not perfectly sure what new schematic ideas the 64-year-old Caldwell would be bringing to the table in Philly but there’s no denying that quarterbacks have produced under his tutelage. I like the idea of pairing him with Carson Wentz.

It’s worth noting that Caldwell does have a Philly connection: he overlapped with current Eagles vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl in Baltimore.

Caldwell doesn’t fit the mold of some of the younger, more innovative OC candidates — like Harrell and Kellen Moore — that the Eagles have shown interest in. But maybe the team can hire someone like Josh McCown or Dan Orlovsky as an offensive assistant to pair with the more veteran Caldwell. Just a thought.

In any case, the Eagles should try to do what it takes to get Caldwell to Philly. His track record suggests he can help to maximize Wentz.


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