The Miami Dolphins will be missing one of their most experienced and high profile coaches for the 2019 season, as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is taking a leave of absence to address health issues.
A statement was released by the Dolphins on Saturday morning regarding Caldwell’s status.
“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said. “I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”
Head coach Brian Flores offered his own sentiments within the statement.
“Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can,” He said. “With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”
Caldwell will still serve as a consultant to head coach Brian Flores, but not having him physically there will have an impact. Caldwell is one of the first coaches Flores added to his staff, bringing him on board on Feb. 8, 2019. His experience as an NFL head coach was projected to be invaluable to Flores, a rookie head coach who is only just starting to learn what it means to be a head coach in this league.
Not having proven, experienced people behind him is likely part of what led former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase to make the mistakes he did. Flores was smart to hire Caldwell to be his right hand man. He brought with him 17 years of coaching experience, with two stints as a head coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11 and the Detroit Lions from 2014-17. In that time, Caldwell put together a 62-50 (.554) regular-season record, four playoff berths, two 11-win seasons and one conference championship. He also won a Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2012 season.
On top of being the assistant head coach, Caldwell was also tasked with coaching the quarterbacks, as he’s had experience coaching the likes of Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, and of course Peyton Manning, who spoke to Michael Rothstein of ESPN back in 2015 about Caldwell’s stressing of fundamentals and how everything had a specific purpose.
“The discipline of having that routine really made an impact on me,” Manning said. “I really felt like I just sort of took a step up during the years that he was my quarterbacks coach.”
The hope was that Caldwell would have a significant impact on the next young QB who stepped foot in the building. In this case, Josh Rosen was that young QB, and Miami is hoping he turns out to be worth his initial top ten pick draft status. Now, however, it will be up to seven-year veteran Jerry Schuplinski to fill that void, who spent his previous six seasons in the league with the New England Patriots, starting his role as assistant QB coach in 2016 for Tom Brady.
Caldwell’s absence will hurt the team, but true to form, the Miami Dolphins have made it clear that they care about the people working for them. With any luck, the 64-year old Caldwell will overcome his unspecified health issues and be able to return to the sidelines in no time. Until then, Caldwell will have the support of the team as he rests and recovers from whatever ails him.