AFC North: Scott Linehan

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh named his four candidates for offensive coordinator on Tuesday: former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Ravens wide receiver coach Jim Hostler, and Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson.

Three of the candidates (Shanahan, Linehan and Hostler) have previous coordinator experience, and Wilson was reportedly given additional responsibilities after the season when Todd Haley was retained as the Steelers' offensive coordinator.

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Who should be the Ravens' next offensive coordinator?

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    18%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,323)

As far as surprises, I'm wondering why Gary Kubiak isn't on this list. He has just as good -- if not better -- credentials than these finalists. His offenses with the Houston Texans (as the head coach) and Denver Broncos (as the offensive coordinator) were regularly in the top 10.

Here is my initial reaction to the Ravens' candidates:

If the Ravens want the most experienced coordinator who has the most proven track record, that's Linehan.

If the Ravens want a young play-caller with familiarity in the zone-blocking scheme, that's Shanahan.

If the Ravens want someone who maintains continuity with the staff and players, that's Hostler.

If the Ravens want to put the emphasis in reviving a historically bad running game, that's Wilson.

And here's a breakdown of the four candidates:

SCOTT LINEHAN

Age: 50

Coordinator experience: Minnesota Vikings (2002-04), Miami Dolphins (2005) and Detroit Lions (2009-13).

What to like: The Lions ranked in the top six in offense the past three seasons. Linehan has nine years of experience as a coordinator.

What not to like: Quarterback Matthew Stafford plateaued under Linehan. The Lions failed to score more than 20 points in the season-ending four-game losing streak.

KYLE SHANAHAN

Age: 34

Coordinator experience: Houston Texans (2008-09), and Washington Redskins (2010-13).

What to like: Under Shanahan, quarterback Robert Griffin III was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. He also had the NFL's top passing attack in Houston in 2009, when Matt Schaub was his quarterback. Plus, last year was the fourth time in his six seasons as an offensive coordinator that his offenses ended up in the top 10 in total yards.

What not to like: It's tough to forget he was involved in one of the ugliest seasons in NFL history with that implosion in Washington. The Redskins went from fourth in points per game a year ago to No. 23 this season.

JIM HOSTLER

Age: 47

Coordinator experience: San Francisco 49ers (2007).

What to like: It would be a seamless transition with Hostler, who has been the Ravens' wide receivers coach since 2008. He's played a big part in the development of Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown.

What not to like: It's that one year where he was the coordinator of the 49ers. Under Hostler in 2007, the San Francisco 49ers ranked last in total yards and points (13.7).

KIRBY WILSON

Age: 52.

Coordinator experience: None.

What to like: Hiring Wilson would be a statement that the Ravens are committed to running the ball again. In his seven seasons as the Steelers' running backs coach, Wilson has gotten the most out of the running backs who played under him, from undrafted runners (Willie Parker and Isaac Redman), to an overrated first-round pick (Rashard Mendenhall). He was supposed to be in line for the Steelers' offensive coordinator position when the team was replacing Bruce Arians, but he was severely burned in a house fire at the time.

What not to like: Wilson is the only candidate who has never been an offensive coordinator at any level. The Steelers haven't been a great running team lately, ranking No. 26 in 2012, and No. 27 in 2013.

Kirby Wilson to interview with Ravens

January, 21, 2014
1/21/14
2:05
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PITTSBURGH -- A surprising name has surfaced in connection with the opening the Baltimore Ravens have at offensive coordinator.

Coach John Harbaugh announced on Tuesday that Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson is among four finalists for the job that became open when the Detroit Lions hired Jim Caldwell as their head coach.

Wilson is eminently qualified for the job, and he probably would have been promoted to offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh had he not been badly burned in a house fire in January, 2012.

The surprise is that the Steelers have granted Wilson permission to interview with their chief rival. Wilson is to meet with Harbaugh this week, presumably in Mobile, Ala., where NFL coaches are scouting Senior Bowl practices and interviewing draft prospects.

The Steelers could have blocked Wilson from interviewing with the Ravens since it is not for a head-coaching job. The guess here is that Mike Tomlin does not want to deny Wilson, who has been with him since 2007 in Pittsburgh, an opportunity given how loyal Wilson has been and what he persevered through to return to coaching.

Wilson would be attractive to the Ravens because of Baltimore's need to fix a running game that faltered badly in 2013. The Ravens averaged just 83.0 rushing yards per game, ranking 30th in the NFL in that cateogry. They averaged just 3.1 yards per cary, last in the NFL.

Wilson is the second Steelers assistant coach who has been linked to a coordinator job elsewhere.

Linebackers coach Keith Butler was considered one of the favorites to become new coach Ken Whisenhunt’s defensive coordinator in Tennessee. But Butler, who is considered the heir apparent to Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh, never interviewed for the job.

In addition to Wilson, the other finalists for the job in Baltimore are former Rams head coach and Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler.

There has been only one change to Tomlin's coaching staff so far, as he fired offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., this month.

Former Titans coach Mike Munchak interviewed for the job of offensive line coach last week in Pittsburgh.
Scott Linehan, the former Detroit Lions' offensive coordinator, met with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday at the Senior Bowl about their offensive coordinator opening, The Baltimore Sun reported.

This is the second reported interview for the Ravens' offensive coordinator job. Former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan spoke with the Ravens last week.

Linehan, the Lions' offensive coordinator since 2009, guided the Detroit offense to a top-six ranking for the past three seasons. The Lions finished No. 6 in total yards (392.1) and 13th in points scored (24.7) last season with quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush.

When the Lions fired head coach Jim Schwartz on Dec. 30, Linehan was one of two offensive assistants who was immediately let go. The Lions eventually hired Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell to be their head coach.

Linehan, 50, has coached in the NFL since 2002 and has nine years of offensive coordinator experience: Minnesota Vikings (2002-04), Miami Dolphins (2005) and Lions (2009-2013). He was the head coach in St. Louis, where he posted an 11-25 record from 2006-08 before being fired.

Here's the rest of your wake-up caw ...
  • The foot injury that sidelined defensive tackle Brandon Williams for the first three games hurt the rookie's transition from Division II to the NFL. “Obviously the foot injury set me back a little bit, but I thought I came back to play pretty well,” Williams told the team's official website. “I felt pretty good. I feel like I definitely progressed.”
  • The team's website took an up-close look at Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews at the Senior Bowl. Scouts, Inc. has Matthews rated as the 26th-best prospect in the draft.

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