Gary Kubiak was an unexpected, last-minute hire to many outsiders.
His hiring came as a bit of a surprise because he was not initially identified by Head Coach Harbaugh as a candidate early last week, but emerged late in the process and proved to be the best fit for the job.
“Within the last week it became apparent that this had a chance to be a fit for both coaches and we were able to finish it up this weekend,” Harbaugh said during Monday’s press conference.
The possibility of bringing on Kubiak became an option late last week during discussions with former Texans Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison, who ended up getting hired as the Ravens quarterbacks coach.
Harbaugh and Kubiak subsequently had several discussions, including Sunday night at Harbaugh’s home before announcing a deal Monday.
“When I had a chance to talk with Rick last week, and talk about some different candidates and things like that, it just kind of became apparent that maybe we were moving closer together,” Harbaugh said. “Without getting into too many details, that’s just how it felt to me. It just started to make sense.”
Kubiak reportedly talked with other teams about head coach openings and offensive coordinator jobs, but he said that joining Harbaugh was a draw for him to come to Baltimore.
“It gets down to John. We had some great conversations over the course of the last couple of days,” Kubiak said. “It gets me the chance to be part of a championship organization and work with a great young quarterback, but I believed in John, and how he does things, how he runs his football team, his coaching staff, what he stands for. I have great respect for him. For me, to get back to work for him and this organization, I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
In the process of deciding on Kubiak, Harbaugh conducted an exhaustive search by looking at more than 30 candidates for the job. He interviewed one to two candidates a day over the two-week span, considering coaches from the professional and college ranks.
The other candidates Harbaugh identified were former Washington Redskins and Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Wide Receivers Coach Jim Hostler, former Detroit Lions Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan and former Pittsburgh Steelers Running Backs Coach Kirby Wilson.
“I think we did a great job with a thorough process,” Harbaugh said. “That was something that was important to us to make sure that we turned over every stone.”
Some reports Monday indicated that the decision to hire Kubiak was made by Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti, and Harbaugh responded to a question about Bisciotti’s involvement during Monday’s press conference.
“Steve is always involved,” Harbaugh said. “Steve is going to be involved. This is his team and he sets the tone and tempo for everything we do. I listen, as we all do, to Steve’s advice. You’d be foolish not to.
“Now, if you’re going further than that, than the answer is, ‘No. No way.’ Steve gets involved to whatever extent he feels like he can help us, and that’s what he does.”
The next step in the process for the Ravens is to work on filling out the rest of the offensive staff, and the Ravens could hire a number of new coaches to join Kubiak and Dennis in the next few days, including running backs, tight ends and wide receivers coaches.
“I think we have the chance to build the best offensive staff in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said.