Speculation Kubiak Could Change Mind For Denver
This meme perfectly captured fan sentiment when speculation began yesterday that Gary Kubiak could change his mind about staying in Baltimore in favor of the Denver Broncos' new head coaching vacancy.
Fans weren't the only ones to feel nervous. As soon as news broke, wide receiver Torrey Smith retweeted it with a cryptic comment: "Uh oh."
Less than 24 hours after Kubiak said he would stay in Baltimore, long-time friend and former teammate John Elway announced that he was parting ways with Head Coach John Fox and his staff. Kubiak spent 11 years in Denver as a coach, and nine more as a player and backup quarterback to Elway, the Broncos' now-general manager and executive vice president of football operations.
Given the history, countless reporters started tweeting and speculating about the timing of the two announcements and whether Kubiak might have a change of heart, including ESPN's Ed Werder and Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec and Aaron Wilson, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora, WNST's Luke Jones, 107.5 The Fan's Jerry Coleman, CSNBaltimore.com's Bo Smolka and many more.
"I wonder if John Elway would have interest in his former backup Gary Kubiak as HC? Kubiak announced plans to stay with Ravens but now?" asked Werder.
"Whoa, whole #Broncos staff is out.... Hope #Ravens got Kubiak's signature on the dotted line already," added Smolka.
Even though Kubiak has already committed to the Ravens publicly, that's not stopping the Broncos from pursuing him. They will still request an interview, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. From the Broncos' perspective, it doesn't hurt to ask.
There are conflicting reports as to whether the developments in Denver will actually change Kubiak's commitment to the Ravens.
"Until [the] Broncos have a new head coach in place, I've talked to many connected people who won't believe Gary Kubiak is staying in Baltimore," tweeted NFL Media's Jeff Darlington.
But Hensley and Wilson both reported that a "team source" said nothing has changed, and Kubiak will run the offense in 2015.
"Of course, you would've expected such close friends to talk about the possibility of such a move happening before Kubiak put out a statement and Elway made a change at head coach," wrote Hensley.
Yes, the rumors were likely already swirling in league circles before Kubiak made his statement. But then why would Denver request an interview if they already talked? Perhaps to exhaust all possibilities? Given the paranoia in Baltimore, questions will persist until Kubiak officially declines the interview request.
Head Coach John Harbaugh will likely address the situation during his press conference today at 2 p.m., and you can watch the live stream at BaltimoreRavens.com.
Ravens Expected To Coach At Pro Bowl
With the dismissal of the Broncos coaching staff, the Ravens have been informed by the NFL that they are expected to coach one of the two Pro Bowl squads, according to Wilson.
The Ravens are next in line based on seeds and losing in the divisional round. The other coaching staff is expected to be the Dallas Cowboys. The all-star game is scheduled for Jan. 25 at the University of Phoenix, one week prior to the Super Bowl, and each member of the coaching staff will reportedly receive $25,000.
Joining their Ravens coaches at the Pro Bowl will be outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and right guard Marshal Yanda. The three were voted into the Pro Bowl by fans, players and coaches.
Spagnuolo To Interview With Giants
It comes as little surprise that Ravens Secondary and Assistant Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo will interview for the New York Giants' defensive coordinator position. Schefter reported the news yesterday afternoon.
Spagnuolo was the Giants'* *defensive coordinator in 2007-08, and won a Super Bowl with the team. In Baltimore, Spags has been praised for developing several young players in the secondary where injuries hit hard. The Ravens had seven different starting corners and four starting safeties.
Torrey Smith Takes On Haters
There are plenty of people on social media who feel Smith should have more strongly contested the game-sealing interception in the divisional-round loss in New England.
But some people are just jerks about it, and Smith decided to take one on:
I'm done responding to negative comments for at least a month..I just made a bet with myself..that means I'm just using the block button smh — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 13, 2015
Meoli: Ravens, Patriots Were AFC's Two Best Teams
After watching the Broncos and Indianapolis Colts duel in the divisional playoff round Sunday afternoon, it was hard not to think the Ravens could have beaten either team.
The Sun's Jon Meoli feels Baltimore and New England were the two best of the conference.
"With an extra day of hindsight, it seems pretty clear that the AFC's two best teams played on Saturday," wrote Meoli. "Neither the Ravens nor Patriots looked the part for stretches of the season, but with no truly great teams in the conference, these two are more than worthy of that honor.
"Around midseason, it seemed to me the Ravens were a very talented team with a major issue in the secondary. In the end, that was the worst [possible] weakness to have against a Patriots team more than willing to move the ball through the air five yards at a time."
Melvin Wants To Put New England Behind Him
Rashaan Melvin became the Ravens' seventh starting cornerback this year, and he finally provided some stability at the position late in the season after so many ups and downs.
But Saturday night, future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady attacked him relentlessly, giving the young corner a game he'd like to forget. According to Pro Football Focus, Brady targeted Melvin 19 times, completing 15 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said, per CSNBaltimore.com's Bo Smolka. "You live and you learn from mistakes that you made and you try not to make the same mistakes again. I'm definitely a player that learns from his mistakes."
Cornerback Higher Priority Than Safety
When it comes to retooling the roster, two positions that immediately come to mind as top priorities are safety and cornerback. But, if you had to choose one over the other, Meoli thinks corner is the bigger need … a lot bigger.
"A lot will be made of rebuilding the secondary in the coming months, but the safety play probably shouldn't be included in that," Meoli wrote. "The Ravens found something they like with Will Hill and Darian Stewart, and while neither is Ed Reed, that wasn't really the problem this year.
"I'm also a bigger believer in rookie Terrence Brooks than might be reasonable, so combined with the useable depth at that spot, more resources might be spent on cornerbacks than safeties this year."
Steve Smith Sounds Like Actual Raven
Hat tip to SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal, who picked up on this: Steve Smith Sr.'s celebratory scream sounds an awful lot like an actual Raven caw.
Compare for yourself:
- Brad Jackson previews the Ravens' offseason. [CSNBaltimore.com]