Baltimore Ravens: Jim Hostler

By my count, the Baltimore Ravens parted ways with six coaches. They either moved on to other jobs or got fired. Let's take a look at where they landed:

Jim Caldwell, offensive coordinator: Detroit Lions head coach

Teryl Austin, secondary coach: Lions defensive coordinator

Wade Harman, tight ends: Atlanta Falcons assistant offensive line coach

Jim Hostler, wide receivers: Buffalo Bills senior offensive assistant

Andy Moeller, offensive line: Cleveland Browns offensive line coach

Wilbert Montgomery, running backs: Browns running backs coach
Jim Hostler, the Baltimore Ravens' wide receivers coach for the past six seasons, joined the Buffalo Bills as their senior offensive assistant.

That means one more coach from John Harbaugh's first Ravens staff is gone and one more coach from the Houston Texans may be on his way. The Ravens' coaching staff, at least on the offensive side, could turn into the Texans East. It makes sense because offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who was the Texans' head coach for the past eight seasons, should bring in the coaches who are most familiar with his system.

The Ravens' last two openings on their staff could be filled by two former Texans coaches: Larry Kirksey (wide receivers) and Chick Harris (running backs). Two assistants from last year's Texans team, quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison and tight ends coach Brian Pariani, were hired this week by the Ravens.

With Hostler gone, there are only four coaches who remain from Harbaugh's 2008 staff: Jerry Rosburg (special teams), Clarence Brooks (defensive line), Craig Ver Steeg (offensive assistant) and Andy Moeller (former offensive line coach). And Moeller isn't expected to return, so that number could go down further.

Hostler went to the Bills after being turned down for the Ravens' offensive coordinator job. He was reportedly one of two finalists for the job before Kubiak emerged as the favorite late in the search.

Ravens announce two staff moves

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
The Baltimore Ravens made two moves with their coaching staff and neither come as a surprise.

The Ravens named Steve Spagnuolo their secondary coach after he spent a season as their senior defensive assistant. They also hired Brian Pariani as their tight ends coach.

It's long been speculated that Spagnuolo would replace Teryl Austin, who became the Detroit Lions' defensive coordinator, as the Ravens' secondary coach. Pariani is the second assistant to follow offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak from the Houston Texans and he may not be the last.

Spagnuolo, 54, who was head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2009-11), is a position coach for the first time since he was the Philadelphia Eagles' linebackers coach in 2006. He also has experience as a defensive backs coach, serving in that role for the Eagles from 2001-03.

"How fortunate are we to have a former NFL head coach, former defensive coordinator and secondary coach become the Ravens' coach for our defensive backs?" head coach John Harbaugh said in a statement released by the team. "Steve is one of the outstanding teachers in the NFL, and he already worked with our defensive staff and players last season as a senior assistant. Our players respect him, and a number of our veteran defensive backs recently said to me that they wanted Steve to coach them."

Parini finished his eighth season as the Texans' tight ends coach. He joins quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison as coaches hired by the Ravens this week who have experience in Kubiak's offensive system.

"Brian has earned a reputation as one of the NFL's top tight ends coaches, and we're excited that he was available and willing to join us," Harbaugh said. "Another factor that immediately makes him valuable to us is his familiarity with the offense we want to run. We are making changes on offense, and Brian will be able to help teach and implement them."

Parini replaces Wade Harman, who had been the longest-tenured coach in franchise history. Harman completed his 15th season with the Ravens and is the only coach to serve on both of the Ravens' Super Bowl teams.

There has been no announcement on whether wide receivers coach Jim Hostler will remain with the team. He could decide to go elsewhere after being turned down in the Ravens' offensive coordinator search.

The only current opening on the Ravens staff is running backs coach.
The Baltimore Ravens should end the drama and name Kyle Shanahan their offensive coordinator.

Shanahan is one of two finalists left in the Ravens' ongoing search after the team reportedly notified Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson on Saturday that he was no longer in the running.

If the choices are Shanahan and Ravens wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, the obvious decision is Shanahan. The Ravens need to go outside the organization to get their offense on track, and they need to go with the coach who has the most experience as a coordinator.

The biggest knock against Shanahan is his connection with the Washington Redskins' epic implosion this past season. Even with all of those problems in Washington, though, the Redskins finished No. 9 in the league in total yards with Shanahan as the offensive coordinator.

Shanahan was my pick when coach John Harbaugh named his four finalists. Wilson has never been an NFL playcaller. Hostler had one forgettable season as offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, who finished last in total yards under him in 2007. And Scott Linehan, the former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator, wasn't impressive in the grooming of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had plateaued the past couple of seasons.

That leaves Shanahan, who is young (34 years old) and has been an offensive coordinator the past six years. The Ravens could promote Hostler to offensive coordinator and try to keep Shanahan as the quarterbacks coach. But the best decision the Ravens could make is to hand over the keys to the offense to Shanahan.
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.


Who should be the Ravens' next offensive coordinator?


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:


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.


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.


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).


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.

Poll: Who's the Ravens next OC?

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
The Baltimore Ravens are going to hire their third offensive coordinator in 13 months. This comes after Cam Cameron was the play-caller for quarterback Joe Flacco's first five seasons in the NFL.


Whom do you want to see as Ravens' new offensive coordinator?


Discuss (Total votes: 2,559)

So, who is going to be the Ravens' next offensive coordinator?
  • Rob Chudzinski, the former Cleveland Browns head coach, is considered an innovator after bringing the read-option offense to the NFL in Carolina.
  • Jim Hostler, the Ravens' wide receivers coach, is the top in-house candidate who is the most familiar with the Ravens' personnel and would deliver the most seamless transition.
  • Gary Kubiak, the former Houston Texans head coach, has the proven track record with seven top-10 offenses in his past 11 years of coaching.
  • And Norv Turner, the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator, is considered one of the brightest offensive minds in the game.

After you have voted for one of these candidates (or you have someone else in mind), tell me why you made that decision by dropping me a line in my mailbag. It could be used on the blog later in the week.
The Baltimore Ravens are looking for the seventh offensive coordinator in their history after Jim Caldwell was hired to become the Detroit Lions' head coach. There will be plenty of speculation of candidates. Let's take a look at some names that will be circulating:

Brad Childress (Kansas City Chiefs spread game analyst): I don't see the Ravens taking a look at Childress, even though there's an obvious connection with John Harbaugh from their days with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's more of a quarterbacks coach than an offensive coordinator, which was the same situation with Caldwell. Childress has only been a play-caller for one NFL season, and the Vikings finished 26th in points that year.

Rob Chudzinski (former Cleveland Browns head coach): Too many red flags with Chudzinski. He was fired after one season with the Cleveland Browns, and he wasn't lauded as an offensive guru in his final season as the Carolina Panthers' offensive coordinator. Cam Newton regressed in his second season under Chudzinski, and running back DeAngelo Williams was highly critical of Chudzinski after he was hired by the Browns.

Karl Dorrell (former Houston Texans quarterbacks coach): Dorrell has a varied resume. He was a head coach in college (UCLA, where he was co-coach of the year in the Pac-10) as well as an offensive coordinator. In the NFL, he learned under the likes of Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak. I would consider him a long shot at this point.

Jim Hostler (Ravens wide receivers coach): Hostler makes a lot of sense because hiring him would be a seamless transition. He joined the Ravens when Harbaugh was hired in 2008, so he knows the players and the coaching staff. The tough sell is his one season as an NFL offensive coordinator. Under Hostler in 2007, the San Francisco 49ers ranked last in total yards and points (13.7). General manager Ozzie Newsome, though, was very complimentary of Hostler in the "State of the Ravens" press conference.

Gary Kubiak (former Houston Texans coach): It's hard to argue with his track record. In eight seasons with the Texans, the offense ranked in the top five three times and in the top half of the NFL seven times. Before that, in three seasons as the Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator, the offense never finished below No. 7. The question with Kubiak is health. He suffered a transient ischemic attack, or "mini-stroke," on Nov. 3 while walking off the field at halftime of a loss against Indianapolis.

Bill Lazor (Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach): He joined the Eagles a year ago when Chip Kelly was hired as head coach. But interest in Lazor makes sense, according to my colleague Phil Sheridan, who covers the Eagles. This is what he had to say about him: "Lazor didn't just materialize on the Eagles staff last year. He has worked for Dan Reeves in Atlanta, Joe Gibbs in Washington, Mike Holmgren in Seattle and Kelly here. He has coached NFL quarterbacks and spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia. That's a pretty varied resume. Coupled with Lazor's intelligence, it makes him a natural candidate for an NFL coordinator job."

Ben McAdoo (Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach): He's considered the hot young candidate. He's interviewed for the head coaching job in Cleveland and the offensive coordinator position for the New York Giants. But he is the favorite to land in Miami, where he has a previous working relationship with Joe Philbin.

Kyle Shanahan (former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator): Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Houston, where the offense ranked in the top five in both of his seasons there. It's just hard to forget that he played a role in the biggest implosion of the 2013 season. There's no way another team would give him a shot at offense, right? Well, the Dolphins interviewed him for their offensive coordinator job. I don't see the Ravens doing the same.

Mike Sullivan (former Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator): Sullivan had mixed results in his two seasons in Tampa. He is considered a solid coach who fell into a tough situation last season, when he had a rookie quarterback and injuries at running back, tight end and wide receiver. Sullivan may have the inside track for the Giants' offensive coordinator job. He previously coached for the Giants for seven years (2004-11).

Norv Turner (Browns offensive coordinator): He was a bad head coach but he's been a great offensive coordinator. I believe Turner makes the most sense because he can make the biggest impact on Joe Flacco. For more reasons on why the Ravens should hire Turner, you can click right here. The biggest hurdle is he's still under contract with the Browns, even though the team fired head coach Rob Chudzinski. It could take until February until Turner's situation in Cleveland is resolved.
If you're asking me who the Baltimore Ravens' next offensive coordinator will be, I would say their wide receivers coach Jim Hostler. If you're asking me who the Ravens should hire as their next offensive coordinator, that's an easy answer -- Norv Turner.

If you don't agree with that, look at the magic Turner performed in one season with the Cleveland Browns. He turned wide receiver Josh Gordon into the NFL's leading receiver and tight end Jordan Cameron into a Pro Bowl player. And Turner did this with three mediocre quarterbacks.

[+] EnlargeNorv Turner
AP Photo/David RichardNorv Turner's ability to get the most out of QBs would make him a good fit with Baltimore.
The Browns finished 18th in the NFL in offense, 11 spots higher than the Ravens. And, again, Turner did this with Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer at quarterback, and past-his-prime Willis McGahee at running back. Imagine the improvement the likes of wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta could make.

The biggest reason to bring Turner to Baltimore is his potential impact on quarterback Joe Flacco. Look at Turner's history with quarterbacks: Troy Aikman, Alex Smith and Philip Rivers. Everything the Ravens do this offseason should be focused on helping Flacco rebound. And, in terms of a play-caller and mentor, the Ravens couldn't do any better than finding a way to get Turner to Baltimore.

Turner would be the best offensive coordinator available. That is, if he was actually available. The problem is Turner is still under contract with the Browns even though they fired head coach Rob Chudzinski. The Browns said they would be liberal in granting permission for assistant coaches to interview with other teams, but I'm guessing Cleveland won't be doing Baltimore any favors. Turner's situation might not be resolved until after the Super Bowl, because the Browns are reportedly waiting to talk to Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase for their head coaching job.

The Ravens have plenty of options, and Turner wouldn't be the only solid hire. Baltimore could look at the young hot candidate, Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo. The Ravens can go with a more experienced play-caller in Gary Kubiak, the former Houston Texans head coach.

Or the Ravens can simply promote Hostler to offensive coordinator. The Ravens and coach John Harbaugh have a history of staying in-house. When there were openings at defensive coordinator, the Ravens promoted linebackers coach Greg Mattison (2009), secondary coach Chuck Pagano (2011) and linebackers coach Dean Pees (2012). And when the Ravens fired Cam Cameron, they moved quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell to offensive coordinator.

Hostler is the only coach who has experience as an NFL offensive coordinator, and he's well-respected by the front office. What works in Hostler's favor is he already knows the personnel as well as the coaching staff. There would be a seamless transition.

But Hoster didn't have much success in his one year as an offensive coordinator. Under Hostler in 2007, the San Francisco 49ers ranked last in total yards, passing yards and points scored (13.7). Now, six seasons later, Hoster might be given a chance to redeem himself in that role.

The Ravens are getting a fresh start with Caldwell being hired by the Detroit Lions on Tuesday. The best hire for the Ravens and Flacco would be Turner. But, based on the Ravens' track record, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hostler take over as offensive coordinator.