Monday, January 27, 2014
Thoughts on potential offensive makeover
By Jamison Hensley
All signs point to the Baltimore Ravens naming Gary Kubiak their offensive coordinator as well as adding Kyle Shanahan and Rick Dennison to the staff. What does this all mean? Let's take a look.
When did Kubiak become a candidate?
Judging by how the search unfolded, it looks like Kubiak became a viable option late in the process. Coach John Harbaugh named four candidates last week to the team's official website, and Kubiak wasn't mentioned. The interest in Kubiak gives the impression that the Ravens had a change of plans after second interviews with Shanahan and Pittsburgh Steelers running backs coach Kirby Wilson. Kubiak should've been near the top of the Ravens' list when the search began. But he's still getting paid by the Houston Texans and he reportedly turned down the Cleveland Browns when they looked at him as coordinator. So, the Ravens must have made it worth his while to peak his interest.
How will the offensive staff look?
It's all speculation at this point. The most logical move is Shanahan becoming the quarterbacks coach. He served in that role in Houston in 2007. What will be interesting is to see how Dennison fits. Before Dennison was the Texans' offensive coordinator for the past three years, his background was the offensive line. But Harbaugh has already named Juan Castillo as his offensive line coach. How Harbaugh defines Dennison's responsibilities will be more important than his title. The only other opening on the offensive staff right now is running backs coach, and I don't envision Harbaugh putting Dennison at this spot with no prior experience at this position. It's unknown whether there will be further shakeup. The other offensive coaches on staff -- wide receivers coach Jim Hostler, tight ends coach Wade Harman and former offensive line coach Andy Moeller -- have all been with Harbaugh since he came to Baltimore in 2008.
Are there too many "cooks in the kitchen?"
This was asked by Scott Graham, one of my Twitter followers. I can understand the question because you don't want too many voices in Joe Flacco's ear. This was a problem years ago when Brian Billick, Jim Fassel and Rick Neuheisel all had their own opinions on the direction of the offense. But Kubiak has a history with Dennison and Shanahan. Dennison has worked under Kubiak for 11 years, and Shanahan has been on his staff for four years. They know how to put a game plan together, and it showed in the results with the offenses in Denver and Houston. In the end, it's better to bring in three coaches with a proven track record than simply promote within just to keep cohesion.