The Ravens find themselves in a situation they haven’t dealt with in years…the offseason offensive coordinator market (although some may argue they haven’t had a coordinated offense since the 1990s…). Is the Ravens OC opening even a desired position for candidates? They haven’t exactly had consistent success over the years, and unlike the defensive counterparts, the Ravens OCs have not been promoted to the next level. That said, this situation could be different. The front office has stated that offense will be THE major focus before the 2014 season, so it will be a chance for the new OC to play a little GM as well. The only stable parts on offense are T. Smith, Rice, Flacco, and maybe one or two on the offensive line, so a little molding can be accomplished. I have added rumored candidates and predicted their chances. With that, keep in mind the Ravens have traditionally hired the safe, old, steady OC.
The latest rumored candidates (subject to change if it hasn’t changes already):
Norv – 25% chance. He won’t be back in Cleveland. He and the front office don’t get along (and apparently that goes for 90% of the head coach candidates). Norv likes to run the ball and chuck it deep. He may be a dinosaur, but his style fits the Ravens personnel. As an OC, his offenses have played a physical brand of football and he makes modifications to the base offense to fit a player’s strengths. Recently he turned an offense with no QB and no RB into a more than respectable unit, and somehow found ways to keep Josh Gordon open despite having little else for the opposing D to focus on. In addition, the Browns could end up paying most of his salary depending on how the two part ways.
Update: Unless Norv takes the Vikings position, which ESPN is now reporting
Rod Chudzinski – 15% He is currently banking $10.5 M of Browns bucks, so hiring him could be cheap, much to the chagrin of Browns fans who would be paying most of his salary. Under Chud, the Browns D trended down and offense trended up.
Kubiac – 5% chance. West coast and zone blocking coordinator. He would have to make major changes. Minus Rice and a couple TE/WRs, they do not have the personnel. If this happens, it would be an offensive rebuilding year in my opinion. I don’t see it with the current players unless they force it ala the Steelers and force a west coast offense on a non west coast QB.
Childress – 3% chance. He is a west coast offense guy as well.
Lazor- 2% chance. Its not that he won’t be a good candidate because he has the credentials. The issue is that it’s most likely too late. He has been interviewing for other OC openings like Miami, and he either ends up there or Detroit in my opinion.
Hostler – 2% chance. Did wonders in SF as QB coach when Alex Smith came into the league. He was then promoted to OC in 2007, and the 49ers running game went into the crapper and they were dead last in total offense by over 600 yards. Brought in Boldin who minus last year’s playoffs, had his worst run as a professional. His only positives – He is on the team, and players don’t hate him.
Castillo – 1% chance. The fans would show up at Harbaugh’s house with pitch forks and a battering ram. No way the front office lets this happens. If it does, THAT happens. The one thing that does concern me is the Ravens are playing political dodgeball with this guy. He was the offensive line coordinator before he wasn’t. He was the run coordinator before he wasn’t. In one sentence Harbaugh says “Castillo is our OL coach in 2014”. 5 minutes later, paraphrasing Bisciotti, “We will let things play out. We don’t like to fire people if we don’t have to.” What do I make of this? When you speak the truth, it’s normally a single story that is easily repeated. Something doesn’t smell right; I just don’t know where the smell is coming from.
Al Saunders – 1% chance. Former Raven, familiarity, but don’t see another reason. He is on here because he is in the rumor mill.
Zorn – >1% chance. He didn’t get along with the staff when he was here. Familiarity is the only thing that leaves his probability above zero.
THE FIELD OF NFL AND COLLEGE COACHES – 45% chance. First, this is a crazy fluid situation that has already changed in the short time I’ve been writing this. Second, the Ravens have been working on the OC position for “a while” according to the team, which means everything has been going on behind the scenes, even before the “State of The Ravens” presser. If the Ravens haven’t already talked to the guys mentioned above or haven’t asked permission to talk to them, there is a good chance we are all just blowing their smoke. It could be a college guy (it has been rumored that there have been talks) although that’s unlike them. It will most likely be the old safe NFL guy discussed earlier.
The longer this process takes, the more nervous Ravens fans will get about an internal promotion. I personally don’t see it, but NFL assistants are quickly being picked up, and college coaches will want to know ASAP because they are hot on the recruiting trail as boosters follow behind with bags of cash. The college coaches will need to give those programs time to adjust, although they have proven to be a little more selfish than that. What can be said about the Ravens OC search is that no one has a clue of what will actually happen until it happens.