Ravens Interested In Any 'Black Monday' Coaches?
NFL "Black Monday" claimed the jobs of seven head coaches.
And Ravens fans want to know if there's a chance any of the offensive-minded coaches that were let go – Andy Reid (Philadelphia), Pat Shurmur (Cleveland), Chan Gailey (Buffalo) or Norv Turner (San Diego) – could land in Baltimore.
"Sure, there's a chance," The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec said in a fan chat. "I don't think they are planning to make any imminent coaching moves, but that can change real quick."
There are two layers to the situation.
First, both Jim Caldwell, who took over the offensive coordinator duties just a few weeks ago, and the Ravens would have to make a big decision. Does Ravens brass want Caldwell back as offensive coordinator next season? And does Caldwell, who has said he'd ultimately like to be a head coach again, want the job?
Only after the decision with Caldwell is made can the Ravens seriously consider bringing in somebody new.
Those questions likely won't be answered until the results from the Ravens' postseason run are in.
"I think that's very much up in the air," Zrebiec wrote. "If the Ravens offense performs well in the playoffs and they make a little bit of a run, then yes, I think Caldwell will be back. But if [quarterback Joe] Flacco struggles and they go one-and-done or something like that, I could easily see the team trying to hire a big-name offensive coordinator like Norv Turner."
In addition to potential interest in Turner, Zrebiec noted that Head Coach John Harbaugh is close to Shurmur from when the two worked together under Reid in Philadelphia. Shurmur also has connection with other members of the Harbaugh family.
Even though Reid and Harbaugh are close from their time together at the Eagles, Zrebiec said he "can't see" Reid settling for an offensive coordinator position. Plus, there are already reports that Reid will be interviewing for a couple of the newly-vacated heading-coaching jobs.
"[A]s of now, that's all speculation," Zrebiec made clear. "I've heard of no plans to make any significant coaching changes."
Pagano: Insider Knowledge An Advantage
That's how long Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano spent in Baltimore as a secondary coach and defensive coordinator.
That's how long Colts Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians spent in Pittsburgh game planning against the Ravens defense as the Steelers' coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Pagano knows his and Arians' familiarity with the Ravens defense is an advantage as they prepare to visit Baltimore in the wild-card round Sunday, saying he'd be "crazy" not to disseminate that knowledge wherever he can.
When asked if he planned to spend more time in meetings with the Colts offense this week, Pagano flashed a smile.
"There's a good chance that may happen," Pagano said, per the Kokomo Tribune. "There's going to be some things. I will be able to sit down and watch some tape with anybody on the offensive side of the ball, with the coaches.
"And if there is some questions that need to be answered based on coverages and fronts and techniques and personnel and things like that, then obviously having spent the last four years there, I'd be crazy not to spend some time with them."
While first-year Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees has put his own stamp on the defense and re-tooled it during an injury-plagued season, Pagano said the base of the Ravens defense is still the same. Also, Arians battled Pees while Pees was the defensive coordinator in New England, which gives the Colts another point of familiarity.
Pagano believes his team's insider knowledge will give them a leg up on the competition.
"We've got an advantage as far as [knowing Baltimore] because of Bruce's familiarity," Pagano said. "When he pops on the tape, even though it's a new [defensive] coordinator, that system's been in place on defense there for a long, long time going back to 2000. There's some new faces, obviously, but the system itself has pretty much stayed in place.
"The new coordinator, Dean Pees, had spent a number of years as the coordinator in New England and has been there for the last couple of years. He's probably added a few things as far as things he did [with the Patriots]. He brought some of that with him when we were together when I was there. Bruce knows that defense. He knows that scheme. He knows the personnel, other than the new guys that are there. I think going into this ball game it will really help us getting started and be able put together a plan that will give us a chance to win that football game."
In the CSNBaltimore.com video below, former Ravens linebacker Brad Jackson discusses the advantage Pagano will have.
Resting Players Or Purposely Drawing Colts?
Former Colts Head Coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy said he was surprised the Ravens pulled many of their starters against the Bengals Sunday because at the time there was still a chance they could earn the No. 3 seed.
"I'm a little surprised that John Harbaugh is saying that they were not playing for more," Dungy said, per The Sun. "They had a chance to get to the No. 3 seed. He was very comfortable at No. 4 and that tells me that they want to play [against] Indianapolis. I would have played my guys to go ahead and get a chance to get to the No. 3 spot."
Fellow analysts Rodney Harrison disagreed, saying it was "the right move" to pull the starters and didn't put any credence in the Ravens wanting to play the Colts over the Bengals.
"What is the difference between Cincinnati and Indianapolis? It's not like the difference between Cincinnati and the Patriots," Harrison said.
"He wanted Indianapolis and he's got them now," Dungy replied.
Zrebiec noted that while trying to draw the Colts "does make sense" because of their rookie quarterback and vulnerable defense, nobody in the Ravens organization ever said they wanted to play Indy. But that's the assumption now based on Sunday's strategy.
While the Colts may have been the best-case scenario in the first round, wrote Zrebiec, a potential second-round matchup in Denver would be characterized as the worst-case* *scenario.
"The Ravens beat the Patriots earlier this season and have won and played well at Gillette Stadium before," Zrebiec wrote. "They would have gladly taken another shot at the Texans, who beat them, 43-13, in October, but Houston has seemingly regressed since. The Broncos? I guarantee you that if the Ravens were content with a first-round matchup with Indianapolis, a potential trip to Denver in the second round was the last thing they wanted."
- @brendon310: Ive been with norv cam and norvs brother ron. i like norvs style the best RT @Newt1978: @brendon310 what do you think of norv as an OC [Twitter]
- @wnst: Marshal Yanda on his status for the Indianapolis game: "I'm playing and I'm going to be going 100 percent on Sunday." #Ravens #NFL [Twitter]
- @ravensinsider: Contractually, there was really no way Eric DeCosta, Ravens GM in waiting, would go anywhere anyway. He's already under a lucrative deal [Twitter]
- "If gets outplayed by Andrew Luck, what an indictment on him and the contract he is asking for," NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk said. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @teamsizzlefilms [Terrell Suggs]: HAPPY NEW YEAR RAVENS' NATION! [Twitter]
- @adamschefter: With David Akers struggling, 49ers are bringing kickers to San Francisco for workouts, including Billy Cundiff and Justin Medlock. [Twitter]