Baltimore Ravens: Norv Turner

Around this time last year, the Baltimore Ravens were headed to the Super Bowl with an offense that was averaging 30 points per game. Now, coach John Harbaugh is heading to the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., to continue the search for a coordinator to jumpstart the NFL's 29th-ranked offense.

One name you can cross off your wish list is Norv Turner, who has reached an agreement to become the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator. The Ravens reportedly never requested permission from the Cleveland Browns to speak to Turner.

So far, all that's surfaced about the Ravens' offensive coordinator search is the interview last week with former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The Ravens are among the three teams looking for an offensive coordinator. The Browns and Houston Texans are the others. But, unlike the position in Houston, the Ravens' offensive coordinator will be in charge of calling plays.

Here's the rest of your wake-up caw ...
  • Speaking of the Senior Bowl, The Baltimore Sun points out that half of the Ravens' 2013 draft class played at the all-star event last year: defensive tackle Brandon Williams (third round), linebacker John Simon (Ohio State), fullback Kyle Juszczyk (fourth round), offensive lineman Rick Wagner (fifth round) and wide receiver Aaron Mellette (seventh round).
  • The team's official website listed 10 players to keep an eye on at the Senior Bowl. Not surprisingly, all the prospects are either wide receivers, offensive linemen or safeties.
  • After the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, I'm guessing the happiest Ravens player was Terrell Suggs. He's never hidden his extreme dislike for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. I haven't heard Suggs say Brady's name in at least three years. Suggs addressed this topic in an interview on the NFL Network (via Comcast SportsNet). “I’m getting over it,” Suggs said. “I’m seeing a therapist for it.”
  • The Ravens' first non-playoff season since 2007 has hurt local business, according to WJZ-TV in Baltimore.

Poll: Who's the Ravens next OC?

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
10:30
AM ET
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.

SportsNation

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

  •  
    10%
  •  
    9%
  •  
    20%
  •  
    49%
  •  
    12%

Discuss (Total votes: 2,558)

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.

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