Coordinator change pays off for Ravens

Associated Press photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY. Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, stands with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell during practice last week in Owings Mills, Md. Baltimore's offense has improved since the team replaced Cam Cameron with Caldwell.
Associated Press photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY. Ravens running back Ray Rice, left, stands with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell during practice last week in Owings Mills, Md. Baltimore's offense has improved since the team replaced Cam Cameron with Caldwell.

NEW ORLEANS — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh raised a lot of eyebrows 13 games into this season when he replaced offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with Jim Caldwell.

Now that Baltimore has reached the Super Bowl, thanks in part to a more productive offense, the change was obviously a smart one.

“I think a change was needed,” Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta said Tuesday at Media Day in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. “I think we hit a plateau as an offense with Cam Cameron, for whatever reason. Cameron’s a great coach, but I think we needed a change.

“It was a bold move to make the change in Week 13 like John did, but it ended up being a great decision for us. Jim has really got us to play some good football as of late.”

The Ravens have increased their scoring, rushing yards, passing yards and total yards since Caldwell took over.

“At that particular time, we were very inconsistent in a lot of different areas,” Caldwell said. “So the big thing was to try to get some consistency. We were getting penalized a little bit too much, and certainly those kinds of things weren’t consistent enough in our running game. We gave us maybe a little bit more of an opportunity to be successful — ran the ball more, put an emphasis on it and moved on from there.

“One of the things that we wanted to do was just to make sure that we didn’t leave a ballgame and say, ‘Could we have run the ball a little bit more?’ We don’t ever want that to be a question.”

Jones’ mom feeds Ravens

Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones is from New Orleans and wanted to share some of the city’s best food with his teammates when they arrived. So his mother, Emily London-Jones, fixed a feast for 150 of Jacoby’s closest friends.

The meal consisted of gumbo, rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, jambalaya, green peas, potato salad and bread pudding.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who became a bit of a gumbo connoisseur while he attended Nicholls State, was impressed by the gumbo fixed by “Mama Jones,” as the Ravens call her.

“She made a big bowl,” Webb said, “and it was on point.”

Webb happy all week

Webb won’t be able to play in Sunday’s game because he’s on injured reserve, but that’s not detracting too much from his first Super Bowl experience.

In fact, in some ways, it’s enhancing his ability to enjoy this week.

“I can just be happy all week,” said Webb, who is recovering from a torn ACL. “The guys try to be focused some, then they can be happy some, then they have to be focused for the game. I don’t have to be focused for the game. I can just be happy and enjoy the whole time.”

Kruger in familiar spot

Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger isn’t fazed by being an underdog in a big game in the Superdome.

Baltimore is a 4½-point underdog to the San Francisco 49ers. Four years ago, Kruger was on a Utah team that, despite being undefeated, was at the time the biggest underdog in Sugar Bowl history (8½ points) when it played Alabama.

The Utes whipped the Crimson Tide 31-17.

“That was one of the biggest games I’ve ever played in,” Kruger said. “Alabama was a great team, and it was a special thing for Utah. We went undefeated and beat those guys in the Sugar Bowl. It was a really special memory for me.”